Surfrider shares impacts of climate change as city launches action plan

OCEANSIDE — The Surfrider Foundation and Climate Reality Leadership Corps spoke to the City Council on May 18 about the increasing effects of climate change and the need to address our impacts on the environment.

The presentation was made the same night council approved funds for consultation services to help develop a General Plan Climate Action Element.

The Surfrider Foundation and Climate Reality Leadership Corps plan to speak to all coastal city councils as cities embark on developing action plans.

“Our biggest ask is plans are aggressive, measurable and enforceable,” Julia Chunn-Heer, Surfrider Foundation San Diego County policy manager, said.

Chunn-Heer said scientists are finding previous projections on the impacts of climate change are too conservative. She added significant human changes need to be made soon.

Bruce Bekkar, Climate Reality Leadership Corps speaker, shared an overview of the problem.

He said the extreme temperatures and weather conditions we face are due to climate change. In California we see it in the long drought.

The news got worse and warnings more urgent.

He explained ocean warming creates tropical storms. Melting ice causes tides to rise, cover inhabited land and speed the erosion of bluffs.

“The beach in Del Mar will be gone in 2060,” Bekkar said.

Solutions are to adopt zero-waste practices, use renewable energy and reduce the gasoline fueled miles we drive.

“Its no longer a theoretical risk,” Bekkar said. “It’s time to be bold and step in and act.”

In later meeting discussions city Principal Planner Russ Cunningham said the city’s Climate Action Element will measure, set goals and identify ways to reduce city greenhouse gas emissions.

The City Council unanimously approved funds to cover consultant costs to develop the element, but Councilman Jack Feller said he did not wholeheartedly support the action.

“State law has seven (general plan) elements it mandates, climate action isn’t one of them,” Feller said. “It’s like hearing Chicken Little report the sky’s falling.”

California cities general plan guidelines say “climate change adaptation and resilience should be integrated throughout the elements of a general plan.”

Assembly Bill 32 also calls on cities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Oceanside is currently drafting a greenhouse gas inventory.

Public outreach on the Climate Action Element will begin in July.

A plan is expected to be drafted in fall, and heard by the City Council in early 2018.

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