Monday, Spokane may join the list of 76 U.S. cities that have pledged to move to 100% fossil-free energy. Your City Council votes Monday evening, August 20th, on an ordinance to create a volunteer Sustainability Action Committee tasked with finding ways to meet city and state greenhouse gas reduction goals, as well as to achieve 100% renewable electricity for the entire City of Spokane by 2030.
Needless to say, this is a wonderful move for Washington’s second-largest city, going far to prepare it for a highly climate-conscious future as well as to reduce the pollution largely responsible for doubling the length of our fire seasons.
It’s also great news that this is all contained within an ordinance, which gives it the power of law. In its earlier stages, the ordinance would have covered only the Sustainability Action Committee’s planning for emissions cuts, but achieving 100% renewable energy by 2030 was to be left to a mere resolution, meaning it would lack enforceability. Now, at the urging of some Council members, the measure will include the 100% renewable pledge in city law.
However, it must first pass the City Council, so that’s where you come in. Phone or email Council members, or, better yet, come sign up to speak at the Monday evening Council meeting at Spokane City Hall (speaker sign-ups at 5:30; the meeting begins at 6:00). Thank the Council for having the courage to commit Spokane to 100% renewable energy by 2030, and tell them why.
Here are a few good “reasons why” to choose from (we suggest picking just one or two of these rather than sending a whole list):
- University of California professor Anthony Westerling finds that annual wildfire acreage burned in Washington and Oregon has grown approximately 5,000 percent since the 1970s. CBC now reports that 566 fires are now burning in British Columbia alone, and we are now breathing their smoke. I have loved ones with asthma and other health issues impacted by air pollution and wildfire smoke. Please vote YES.
- A 2009 study from the Washington Department of Ecology estimates that pollution from the burning of fossil fuels causes 1,100 annual premature deaths in our state, and adds nearly $190 million a year to health costs. Thank you for supporting public health & safety; please Vote YES for the ordinance.
- Solar and wind provide many of the best new jobs. More than 250,000 Americans now work in the solar industry; more than a 100,000 in wind power. US Bureau of Labor Statistics says the nation’s fastest growing occupation is “wind turbine technician.” Please vote yes to good, local, renewable energy jobs.
45 years of U.S. Forest Service records from the western U.S. show that wildfire seasons across the U.S. West have grown by an average of 105 days per year. I am worried about much longer wildfire seasons and gigantic fires. Please vote YES on
- The Spokesman-Review says that snowpacks in Washington and Idaho have declined by up to 70 percent since the 1970s. I am concerned about snowpack loss causing lower river water levels, impacting fish, agriculture and hydropower. I support 100% fossil free electricity to protect Spokane’s natural assets.
- This ordinance is sorely needed to update the city’s sustainability action plan, which currently has no specific strategies for achieving the greenhouse gas emission reductions required by City and State law. Vote yes to update the City’s sustainability plan.
- I don’t like being dependent on multinational fossil fuel companies hundreds or thousands of miles away. I support creating our own electricity here in Spokane using wind turbines, solar panels and hydroelectric dams. Please vote YES on the ordinance, for energy independence.
- I’m worried about the world my children and grandchildren will inherit. We need to move to 100% renewable electricity as fast as we can. Please vote YES.
- An ordinance directing the City to achieve 100% renewable goals sends a powerful message to utilities and energy markets, showing that consumers demand safe, clean renewable energy.
- I am worried that human-induced climate change is threatening fragile ecosystems and pushing many species to the brink of extinction. Vote YES to help Spokane do its part as a responsible steward of our natural world.
- Spokane has unique opportunities to profit from the rise of renewable energy and the smarter, more efficient energy transmission systems needed to transport it. This ordinance benefits companies with large local presences like Itron, Schweitzer Engineering and EnerNOC, and it sends a powerful message: when it comes to the energy grid, Spokane means business.
- Over 130 major corporations have pledged to use 100% renewable energy. Planning for 100% renewable energy will attract businesses, investment, and talent to support economic growth in Spokane.
- Cities are leading the way. Establishing City-level climate planning ensures that the solutions to climate change are appropriate to local conditions, needs, and assets.
- Although we have the technology for clean, renewable energy, our community still relies on out-dated and dirty coal-fired electricity. Toxic coal-fired power plants emit mercury, arsenic, lead that poisons our water, food and lungs. Thank you for supporting clean, fossil free electricity production instead.
- Anthropogenic climate change threatens human health and safety. Responsible leadership in the public sector means mitigating this threat. Thank you for supporting this important public safety consideration.
- The cost of business-as-usual inaction on climate change is unimaginable. NOAA estimates that damage from climate change’s severe weather events cost $306 billion just last year. We need to take steps to protect our economy by cutting greenhouse gas emissions that fuel climate change.
- Our cooking of the climate is an injustice with disproportionate impact on low income communities and communities of color in the United States and around the world. A fast and fair transition to 100% renewable energy promotes justice and equity.
- Thank you, City Council, for creating a permanent Sustainability Committee that gives climate and energy the attention they need. Please vote YES.
- The current sustainability plan has not been updated for nearly a decade, so Spokane desperately needs a Committee to continually update the city’s sustainability action plan, achieving our greenhouse gas reduction goals and helping us reach 100% renewable electricity.
- This ordinance brings us into alignment with best practices of cities our size. With this volunteer Sustainability Committee, Spokane will join our country’s most smartest, most innovative cities in developing better ways to care for our natural world.
- The Sustainability Committee will support collaborative decision-making. Climate change impacts all of us. We need a permanent Committee bringing together stakeholders, businesses, impacted communities, and the public sector to determine the best local solutions to the challenges brought by climate change.
- A public, volunteer Sustainability Action Committee will support an inclusive democratic process, calling for the Committee to “reflect a broad range of opinion, experience, socio-economic levels, races, ages, and expertise.”
About 350 Spokane:
Founded in 2017 by concerned Spokane citizens, 350 Spokane’s mission is to support, build, and organize an effective grassroots movement for bold climate action in the greater Spokane area, promoting a just transition to 100% fossil-free energy and a low-carbon economy that works for everyone. More…
We are a local chapter of 350.org,which was founded in 2008 by university students in Vermont and now extends to 188 countries. Our name refers to 350 parts per million, the atmospheric carbon dioxide limit for a stable climate like the one that gave birth to human civilization. (The current concentration of carbon dioxide is over 400 parts per million.) https://350spokane.org/about/