Orange County

Orange Co. commissioners join local resistance to climate change

Orange County will continue its work on global climate-change goals, the commissioners agreed Tuesday night.

They joined Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle, Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger and Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens in vowing to uphold the Paris climate accord despite President Donald Trump’s recently announced withdrawal.

In Durham, Mayor Bill Bell has also affirmed the city’s carbon-cutting commitment.

Only three countries – the United States, Syria and Nicaragua – are not parties to the Paris agreement.

Orange County has passed at least three climate change resolutions since 2009, said Commissioner Penny Rich, who proposed this week’s resolution.

It noted that North Carolina is among coastal states vulnerable to the effects of climate change, from extreme heat and severe storms to rising sea levels. Reducing carbon emissions also will protect Orange County residents now and in the future, it states.

The county already has taken steps, it noted, such as reducing energy consumption by 15 percent per square foot since 2012. The county’s future commitments include reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent and moving to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.

The county is among a growing number of local and state governments and businesses that Rich said are backing clean energy, efficient infrastructure and climate-friendly economic growth.

A Sierra Club analysis in March estimated that local residents, governments and businesses could achieve over 60 percent of the reductions necessary to meet the Paris accord’s goals by moving toward clean energy sources and promoting energy efficiency.

Commissioner Renee Price suggested forwarding the county’s resolution to other North Carolina counties and encouraging them to also sign on.

Tammy Grubb: 919-829-8926, @TammyGrubb