Youth Advocacy Leads to Climate Change Ordinance in Eugene

Thanks to passionate advocacy by youth, the City of Eugene is moving from general goals to steadfast statute when it comes to climate change. City Councilors voted July 28 to adopt a strong climate change ordinance seeking to cut fossil fuel use to 50 percent below 2010 levels by 2030.

The Register-Guard reports:

The so-called “climate recovery ordinance,” which passed on a 6-2 vote, seeks to cut communitywide fossil fuel use by 50 percent by 2030, compared with 2010 usage.

It also calls for city government operations to be entirely “carbon neutral” by 2020, either by reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions or by funding local emission reduction projects.

The ordinance requires city officials to prepare concrete plans for achieving those emissions-reductions goals, and mandates periodic progress reviews and status reports. It also binds future councils to continue that work, unless they change the ordinance.

It's all thanks to passionate work on the part of several dozen Eugene youth, calling themselves Youth Climate Action Now (YouCAN). Several dozen youth testified at a July 21 hearing calling for the ordinance's adoption. This came after several months of advocacy to get the ordinance drafted and considered, as Eugene Weekly reported back in November.

The Register-Guard's editorial board also endorsed the effort, noting in an editorial:

Though Eugene’s ability to combat climate change is small, the city should not shirk its duty to do its part. And when ten, a hundred, or a thousand other communities move in the same direction, their cumulative efforts will make a difference.

This is an ordinance with clear implications for future planning and development in Eugene. 1000 Friends looks forward to working with city leaders to help implement its intent moving forward.