Irvine pledges carbon neutrality by 2030


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The Irvine City Council adopted a climate resolution on August 10th that laid out their objectives for becoming a carbon neutral city by 2030.

Irvine’s Green Ribbon Environmental Committee created the ACHIEVES (Address Climate Change in Irvine’s Environment, Values, and Energy Sources) resolution that outlines the city’s climate plans. This resolution came just one day after the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported a “code red for humanity.”

“It’s great timing for Irvine to show support for climate action, and how that aligns with scientific assessments,” Mayor Farrah N. Khan said on the City’s website. “With the adoption of the climate resolution, we are the third city in California to set the 2030 climate target and work toward averting climate catastrophe.”

The proposed methods include zero-emission standards for new buildings and energy efficient standards for old buildings, electric vehicle charging networks and renewable energy in all city operations. According to the city’s strategic energy study, buildings account for 56 percent of Irvine’s greenhouse gas emissions, followed by 33 percent and 11 percent of emissions from transportation and waste.

The city’s intentions are met with both praise and doubt from students, with some viewing the plan as aspirational or not achievable.

“I think it’s wonderful that our city is actively taking steps to help slow the progression of climate change,” junior Anika Kanitkar said. “It’s a step forward in the right direction.”

Others question the practicality of the deadline.

“It’s hard to do that because it is expensive and not everyone can afford that. Their plan is more for the upper class,” club president of the Green Project David Ho said. “I think 2050 is more achievable.”

Cool City Challenge, funded by the Empowerment Institute, promises Irvine an individual grant of $1 million along with a $25 million Carbon Neutral City prize that will be split among the other two California cities who have also pledged early deadlines. These three cities are being applauded for their 2030 commitments, something that the rest of the world is trying for by 2050.