Last week, I walked into the San Antonio City Council Chambers to present the Council members with nearly 700 petition signatures urging them to press forward with their pledged commitment to develop a Climate Action Plan for the city. While there is much to celebrate in the forward movement of our new Council, many questions remain about the project's scope of work, as well as its transparency and community inclusion. Most outstanding, from my personal perspective, is the failure of our Council to set a sol id, definitive carbon-reduction target to guide the plan’s development.
We have our share of brags in San Antonio when it comes to the transition to renewable energy sources; 13 percent renewable energy is nothing to sneeze at. But we must remember that we are in no way in the vanguard among U.S. cities. More than 30 U.S. cities have already made net-zero commitments with aspirational dates beginning in the 2030 and 2035 range, not to mention the handful of smaller communities, such as Georgetown, Texas, just up the road that are already 100% powered by renewables.
While our city desperately needs a path to net-zero carbon emissions, CPS Energy has failed to update its decade-old renewable target of 20 percent by 2020. So far, that debate is yet to be had.
Below is a copy of the letter submitted on behalf of the Sierra Club, Public Citizen, and Moms Clean Air Force. Deeper in the letter you will see the list of nearly 40 local organizations who supported our June 2017 demand for solidarity with the Paris Climate Agreement, the development of an inclusive, grassroots-led Climate Action Plan, and a pathway to 100 percent renewable energy.
Change is inevitable. But the depth of suffering we may avert by rapidly decarbonizing our economy, strengthening our municipal resilience, and building stronger communities of common concern across the city is up to us.
I strongly urge all local Sierra Club members in San Antonio to engage more deeply with the Alamo Sierra Club to make sure we can make this just transition as soon as possible, while remaining cognizant and allied with our many partners fighting for justice in all of its forms.
Greg Harman is a Clean Energy Organizer with the Sierra Club’s Lone Star Chapter (and proud District 5 resident)