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Carrboro Town Council discusses Climate Action Plan funding

The Carrboro Town Council discussed its Climate Action Plan during its March 8 meeting.

The Carrboro Town Council discussed its Climate Action Plan during its March 8 meeting, eventually agreeing to invest 20 percent of the sector of the Town's budget that is allocated for climate initiatives into the plan.

The plan, passed in 2009, aims to reduce per capita greenhouse gas emissions in Carrboro by 80 percent by 2030. It also intends to provide residents with benefits such as enhanced energy efficiency, job creation and improved air quality.

The original meeting agenda proposed using 20 percent of the Town's annual budget that is specific to achieve climate action goals, taking federal and state funding and overall cost into account. 

But during the meeting, council member Sammy Slade suggested changing the language to propose funding a minimum of 20 percent of the Town’s budget that is allocated for climate change initiatives over the next 10 years. 

Council member Barbara Foushee said that though she understood and respected Slade’s proposal, the Town's budget might not be able to accommodate setting aside 20 percent of the funds for climate goals. 

Other council members also questioned the proposal's language, including Randee Haven-O’Donnell. They said the responsibility for meeting these goals involves other communities outside of Carrboro. 

"We have to do this not only in the county and across the region but across the state and across the Eastern Seaboard and across the nation," Haven-O'Donnell said.

Slade said external support and resources are essential for meeting the Town's goals. 

“We can’t do this alone,” he said. "We need support from other entities."

In response to the proposed change, council member Danny Nowell said the budget goal can be used as a means of measuring the Town’s progress.

“I think the intent (of the 20 percent goal) is to give us a baseline of what it is that we’ll be looking at to evaluate our success on these goals and strategies,” he said.

Haven-O’Donnell said the community plays an important role in shaping a path forward to combat climate change.

“We have a lot of work to do in Carrboro, but I see that the most important frontier that we have to venture into is getting (the) community to roll up its sleeves and understand what they can be doing — what we all can be doing together,” they said.

In response, Slade said significant action needs to be taken now at the local level.

He said the misconception that local areas have a limited ability to prevent climate change has led to the current predicament. 

“What's happening everywhere is that every level of government is saying, 'Oh, we need others to go along before we go along,' and that's why no one is doing anything,” he said. “One of the things about Carrboro is we're supposed to be that place that does what is right."


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