Glendale will join other cities in climate change initiative

On Tuesday, the Glendale City Council adopted a resolution to join other cities nationwide in expressing the Jewel City’s support of the United Nations’ Paris Agreement, which deals with efforts to mitigate greenhouse-gas emissions.

In a unanimous vote, local council members will join the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda, an initiative founded in 2014 by mayors of Los Angeles, Houston and Philadelphia to take local action on climate change.

According to Christine Powers, a program supervisor with the city, there is no formal way for cities to sign onto the U.N. climate accord, but mayors who join the Climate Action Agenda adopt the “spirit and the goals” of the Paris Agreement.

Signees must commit to a number of efforts to combat climate change, including calling for emission reductions at the federal level, developing or updating a local climate action plan and regularly reporting a municipal inventory of greenhouse gases.

The overall goal of the Paris Agreement is to keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The local resolution is not an official request by the city of Glendale to the United States to sign on to the Paris Agreement nor does it require Glendale to adhere to the nationally determined contributions, as outlined in the accord.

“It’s very important that we renew our commitment to living on a healthy planet and leaving a healthy place for our children to live in,” said Councilman Zareh Sinanyan.

“It is the ideology of understanding that greenhouse gases are impacting our environment [and our] climate, versus this denial of scientific reality that’s happening in our country now,” he added.

Councilwoman Paula Devine — a member of the Energy and Environment Committee of the Southern California Assn. of Governments, or SCAG — showed her support by saying the initiative is in line with similar conservation efforts by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The ordinance will likely push Glendale to renew its ongoing sustainability policies in the form of its currently expired Greener Glendale Plan.

The 2012 plan sought to address climate change based on the U.N. Urban Environmental Accords and greenhouse-gas reduction targets set by SCAG.

City staff members are expected to present to council a version of the Greener Glendale Plan sometime in the next year for consideration.

Glendale has met California’s Renewables Portfolio Standards of 33% by 2020 and is working toward the revised goal of 50% by 2030, according to Powers.

Mayor Vartan Gharpetian added that Glendale is also working on 100% reliance on renewable energy by 2045 and moving away from the use of fossil fuels.

Twitter: @JeffLanda