Still resisting, mayor makes climate calls

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On the heels of President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement Accord, Mayor Mike Signer announced today that he has joined the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and identify their sources. Staff photo On the heels of President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement Accord, Mayor Mike Signer announced today that he has joined the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and identify their sources. Staff photo

On the heels of President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement Accord, Mayor Mike Signer announced today that he has joined the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and identify their sources.

This is an effort, he says, to continue resisting.

“Resistance has come to mean many things to many different people in this community,” said Signer at the press conference he called. In the wake of Trump’s first week in office, the mayor held a rally to declare Charlottesville a “Capital of the Resistance.” But in the realm of environmental sustainability, Signer says it means the city “can and will take matters into our own hands.”

Rising sea levels are a key indicator of climate change. Though Charlottesville is landlocked, (and Signer noted that the Fry’s Spring Beach Club is likely the closest thing the city has to an ocean), he says City Council will soon adopt a resolution to continue combating the effects of global warming.

“Today, we reaffirm our commitment to taking actions to reduce climate pollution and we will continue to stand with cities and other leaders throughout the nation and the world to advance action in accordance with the Paris Agreement,” he says. “We know that climate change is a real and significant threat that requires local and global action, and we are prepared to demonstrate that action in Charlottesville.”

At the press conference, Vice-Mayor Wes Bellamy said climate change is “not only affecting the low of the low, but the high of high.” He chose not to refer to the president by name, and said “Number 45” is trying his darndest to limit “equity and access,” which Bellamy said he will continue “to fight for…on this issue and the rest of our issues moving forward.”

Kristel Riddervold, the city’s environmental sustainability manager since 2002, noted that Charlottesville has an official climate protection program. She rattled off a list of achievements, including publishing the first community Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Report in 2008, installing eight solar panel systems on municipal buildings, and establishing a goal of 30 percent reduction of those greenhouse gases by 2050 in the comprehensive plan.

Councilor Kathy Galvin honed in on the three main emitters of greenhouse gases in the city, which are cars, coal and buildings, and noted that Council will be increasing the tree canopy along West Main Street by 400 percent to reverse some of the damage. “The details are where you find the good lord or the devil,” she said.

Updated June 7 at 8:33am.

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