good times local news media events catalyst santa cruz california metro silicon valley news local events san jose weekly pajaronian watsonville local newspaper, news events pajaro valley california gilroy dispatch local news events garlic festival santa cruz media events local california weekly king city rustler newspaper media local events car sales buy new car media
52 F
Morgan Hill
English English Spanish Spanish
January 17, 2022

Climate plan targets gas emissions in Morgan Hill

‘Roadmap’ calls for more electric cars, less natural gas

The City of Morgan Hill has adopted a Climate Action Plan that aims to make it easier for residents to own electric vehicles and convert homes, businesses and public buildings to use cleaner energy over the coming decades.

The city council unanimously adopted the non-binding, long-term plan at the Dec. 15 meeting. City staff will look into efforts to allocate or acquire funding to implement elements of the Climate Action Plan (CAP) over the coming months.

In May, the council approved a Climate Emergency resolution declaring the urgency of climate change repercussions, and expressing the body’s commitment to develop a CAP this year “with strong greenhouse gas reduction targets,” says a city staff report.

The council had also approved a staff budget of $20,000 to draft the CAP, which Program Administrator Anthony Eulo presented to city officials Dec. 15.

Eulo told the council the CAP targets the two most significant sources of carbon emissions in Morgan Hill: on-road vehicles and natural gas consumption in buildings. A main goal stated in the CAP is, “Reduce Morgan Hill’s net carbon dioxide emissions in the building and transportation sectors 35% below the 2020 baseline level by 2030 and 100% below the 2020 baseline level by 2045.”

Thus the Morgan Hill CAP promotes the purchase and use of more electric vehicles, for which the market isn’t likely to dissipate any time soon. A key part of this strategy is to encourage, or even require, more electric vehicle charging infrastructure at new and existing multi-family housing complexes and commercial properties, Eulo said.

The CAP assumes that almost all consumer vehicles on the road in Morgan Hill will be electric in the 2030s. Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier this year signed an executive order ending the sale of gasoline-fueled cars by 2035, and electric vehicles continue to “evolve into better, less costly options than their gas counterparts,” Eulo said.

The second major aspect of the city’s CAP is the “decarbonization of buildings,” which would require all new buildings to use only electric power sources (no natural gas), and to transition existing buildings that currently use fossil fuels to all-electric, Eulo said.

Specifically, the plan has a target of converting 95% of all buildings in Morgan Hill to all-electric by 2045, and all municipal buildings by 2035.

The Silicon Valley Clean Energy Exchange, which the city opted into in 2015, has already been providing clean, renewable energy to Morgan Hill’s customers, and will continue to do so, Eulo added. The city has already seen its electricity emissions decline since joining the SVCE.

Possible policy actions the city might take in the years ahead to enact the CAP in the future include new building and planning ordinances—including a potential moratorium on new gas stations built inside the city limits.

Many cities in Santa Clara County have adopted CAPs, which Eulo described as “a roadmap of what the community wants to focus on to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Morgan Hill CAP has been developed over the last few months by a volunteer Climate Action Plan Working Group, which includes teenage members of the Silicon Valley Youth Climate Action committee.

Some of the teens spoke in favor of the CAP at the Dec. 15 meeting before the council approved the plan.

Diya Kandhra, a student advisor to the Morgan Hill Youth Climate Action Team, said she is “deeply appreciative” of the city’s effort to take action on the climate crisis.

“This Climate Action Plan offers creative solutions that can effectively make our city cleaner through methods that have been successfully employed in other cities,” Kandhra told the council. “I also believe this plan adequately keeps our city accountable to our goals with the increasing emission reduction targets… while providing transparency to the citizens so they can be involved in the process.”

City staff and council members noted there will be future opportunities to engage the public and solicit input about the CAP and efforts to enforce it.

Please leave a comment