Orange County hosted a Climate Action Plan meeting in Chapel Hill on Wednesday to first review the draft of the plan and receive public input from community members.
The County's current CAP aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions using science-based strategies. Attendees of the meeting were encouraged to comment on what they would like to see included or changed in the plan.
Kristin Cushman, the project manager for the CAP and the founder and CEO of Blue Strike Environmental, said she helped write the plan with County employees.
"If we don't invest money up front, then the greenhouse gas emissions escalate over time," she said.
She said the Orange County CAP will follow the recommendations of The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations organization that assesses the science behind climate change.
Orange County's CAP will attempt to reduce emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050 to prevent elevating global temperatures, Cushman explained
"We need to acknowledge that there is some urgency here, and we need to acknowledge that there is a cost of inaction," she said.
She said the top two groups that release the most emissions in Orange County are transportation and commercial energy, which means emissions produced by businesses. Transportation alone made up 43 percent of Orange County's greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, according to the current CAP draft. Accordingly, those two categories are the main focus of Orange County's CAP goals.
Melissa McCullough, a candidate for Chapel Hill Town Council, said she worked for the Environmental Protection Agency for almost 32 years. Her last position at the EPA before she retired was assistant director of the Sustainable and Healthy Communities Research Program.