The plan, which was 16 years in the making, sets the goal of cutting emissions in half by 2025. To meet this goal, the plan addresses transportation, building energy efficiency, renewable energy and ecosystem management issues by engaging a powerful tool: the community.
“We have to have a plan, from storm water to dealing with extreme weather events,” said Jeff Herrick, a member of the plan’s Energy and Climate Action Task Force. “Local community is where it starts.”
The plan’s recommendations addresses needs the community faces, such as a more extensive bus service and solutions for those who face flooding in their homes. Other points include the aquatic health of Bolin Creek and the relationship between the deer population and native plants.
The plan lists a total of 25 recommendations for climate improvement.
Trish McGuire, planning director for the town of Carrboro, said the town has been working on the plan since 2001. The town began researching its footprint and hit milestones in understanding its climate impact, she said.
In 2009, the Carrboro Board of Aldermen passed a resolution to reduce emissions after joining the Cities for Climate Protection Campaign. The town then organized the seven-member Energy and Climate Action Task Force in 2014 to draft a plan for climate action.
The final draft appeared on the board’s agenda on Jan. 24, and members approved the initiative to make it official.
The final product describes the visions, goals and expectations for Carrboro climate action, McGuire said, and what levels of commitment and resources are needed for Carrboro to reach its goal.
Randee Haven-O’Donnell, a member of the board and task force, used the plan’s goal of protecting trees to stress the essential nature of community involvement.
The plan works most effectively when residents advocate for nature preservation where they live, she said. The alternative would involve the town identifying locations for protecting trees, which would cut off resources for preservation outside those areas.
“If neighborhoods start to protect their trees in a unified way, we’ll support the continued preservation of all trees,” she said. “We’ll take (the issues) right to the neighborhoods.”
Carrboro resident Josh Moore said Carrboro will set a good example by having a complete climate plan. The local governments of Chapel Hill and Hillsborough share Carrboro’s commitment to the Cities for Climate Campaign, which places Carrboro in a network of climate effort.
Carrboro will announce on social media once the plan is made available to the public on the town’s website.
Marcellus Brown, who lives on the border of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, said he agreed that Carrboro sets a good precedent by addressing climate change.
“It keeps our community going and vibrant,” he said. “It’s a good trademark for us.”