The Coast News Group

Surfrider shares impacts of climate change as city launches action plan

OCEANSIDE — The Surfrider Foundation and Climate Reality Leadership Corps spoke to the City Council on May 18 about the increasing effects of climate change and the need to address our impacts on the environment.

The presentation was made the same night council approved funds for consultation services to help develop a General Plan Climate Action Element.

The Surfrider Foundation and Climate Reality Leadership Corps plan to speak to all coastal city councils as cities embark on developing action plans.

“Our biggest ask is plans are aggressive, measurable and enforceable,” Julia Chunn-Heer, Surfrider Foundation San Diego County policy manager, said.

Chunn-Heer said scientists are finding previous projections on the impacts of climate change are too conservative. She added significant human changes need to be made soon.

Bruce Bekkar, Climate Reality Leadership Corps speaker, shared an overview of the problem.

He said the extreme temperatures and weather conditions we face are due to climate change. In California we see it in the long drought.

The news got worse and warnings more urgent.

He explained ocean warming creates tropical storms. Melting ice causes tides to rise, cover inhabited land and speed the erosion of bluffs.

“The beach in Del Mar will be gone in 2060,” Bekkar said.

Solutions are to adopt zero-waste practices, use renewable energy and reduce the gasoline fueled miles we drive.

“Its no longer a theoretical risk,” Bekkar said. “It’s time to be bold and step in and act.”

In later meeting discussions city Principal Planner Russ Cunningham said the city’s Climate Action Element will measure, set goals and identify ways to reduce city greenhouse gas emissions.

The City Council unanimously approved funds to cover consultant costs to develop the element, but Councilman Jack Feller said he did not wholeheartedly support the action.

“State law has seven (general plan) elements it mandates, climate action isn’t one of them,” Feller said. “It’s like hearing Chicken Little report the sky’s falling.”

California cities general plan guidelines say “climate change adaptation and resilience should be integrated throughout the elements of a general plan.”

Assembly Bill 32 also calls on cities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Oceanside is currently drafting a greenhouse gas inventory.

Public outreach on the Climate Action Element will begin in July.

A plan is expected to be drafted in fall, and heard by the City Council in early 2018.

1 comment

Elizabeth Cuneo May 30, 2016 at 7:01 am

We already see the effects of climate change here in Oceanside and in the entire state of California. Our beaches are eroding, our small farmers are abandoning avocado groves due to the price and scarcity of water, our state is in the midst of an unprecedented drought, land levels in parts of the state have dropped a dozen feet because new wells have pumped so much water out of the ground, dead and dying sea lions have washed ashore due to huge dead zones in the Pacific Ocean that extend all the way from Mexico to Canada. Any elected official who dismisses these phenomena that are taking a serious toll on tax payers and our economy should be voted out of office, because they obviously do not take their responsibilities to constituents seriously. Councilman Jack Feller should either educate himself by doing some research on climate change (he should investigate some credible sources such as NASA, NOAA, the American Meteorological Association, instead of conspiracy websites), or he should resign his office to someone who is better informed and who will work to solve these serious issues.

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