Originally Published: May 2, 2017 6 a.m.
The editorial discussing the US Conference of Mayors Climate Agreement was incomplete and inaccurate.
Although Councilwoman Jean Wilcox gave a reasoned argument then moved to adopt, her motion died for lack of an official second even though 35 citizens in the audience held up green “2nd” signs indicating public support. The Council thereby ignored the wishes of over 700 citizens who signed petitions supporting the agreement.
Mayor Oberg cherry-picked one scientist’s opinion that climate change may be happening but it is not serious enough for us to take action. In fact, 97percent of climate scientists worldwide agree that climate change is real, that it is caused by worldwide releases of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, and that the potential effects are staggeringly destructive. Oberg also charged that the Mayor’s Agreement is political and partisan. In fact, everything is political - that is how government works - but it should not be partisan. Public policy should be based on the best science available, not on partisan political dogma.
Councilwoman Orr argued that the City is currently mitigating climate change through the 2015 General Plan. In fact, the General Plan only gives guidance, not policy. The Mayor’s agreement is the next step towards policy, but it does not mandate any expense or action.
Councilman Sischka was concerned about money. In fact, climate change mitigation is good business practice. For example, Sacred Heart Parish in Prescott recently completed a major energy efficiency retrofit (including LED lighting and photovoltaic panels to generate electricity from the sun) that saves over $65,000 a year in utility costs. The retrofit is returning a 10 percent return on investment.
The benefits to the City of Prescott are too powerful to ignore. This issue will reappear as part of the next council election debate.