BEND, Ore. — City leaders in central Oregon are considering adopting a plan to tackle climate change, but it’s not clear yet whether the plan’s benefits will outweigh its cost.
The Bend City Council is taking up a resolution Wednesday that would set goals for the community to reduce fossil fuel emissions and allow the city to hire someone to oversee the plan. It would also call for a cost-benefit analysis of the plan, the Bulletin reported (http://bit.ly/2bQMbhl ).
If the plan is passed in its current form, the goals will be aspirational but not required.
The proposal aims to make Bend “carbon neutral” by 2030. That would mean all the city’s facilities and operations would emit no greenhouse gases or would need to get offsets for their emissions. Offsets would be available by measures like planting trees or buying renewable energy.
Another goal involves reducing fossil fuel usage by 40 percent by 2030 and 70 percent by 2050.
Environmental groups asked the city to develop a climate change prevention policy. The City Council responded in May by forming a group to work on the issue. But some residents attending a July meeting questioned the wisdom of hiring someone to oversee the climate plan when Bend has an $80 million backlog in road repairs and is strapped for cash.
Supporters say the plan could help Bend’s economy by making the city more desirable for eco-friendly businesses, but some people think the policies to reduce fossil fuels could drive up costs in the future.
“We have no idea how much that would cost,” Councilor Victor Chudowsky said. “And until we get a handle on it, I don’t think we should commit to those things.”
Information from: The Bulletin, http://www.bendbulletin.com