Solana Beach resolution declares climate emergency, need for more action

Solana Beach City Hall
(File photo)

In response to the adverse impacts of heatwaves, wildfires, sea level rise and other issues stemming from climate change, the Solana Beach City Council approved a resolution declaring a climate emergency and calling for accelerated action to address the crisis.

“Solana Beach would directly experience these impacts that include warming temperatures, increased wildfires, sea level rise and variable water supply,” Rimga Viskanta, a senior management analyst for the city of Solana Beach, said during the council’s Aug. 26 meeting.

The city now joins more than 1,000 other local governments around the world that have declared a climate emergency. The resolution was proposed by the city’s Climate Action Commission.

“It’s just a formality, I understand that, but it says that we’ve taken this position and in a political manner, we’re standing up [to oppose] climate change,” Solana Beach Deputy Mayor Judy Hegenauer said.

A city staff report mentioned Solana Beach’s history of supporting action on environmental issues, including when the city signed on to the U.S. Mayor’s Agreement on Climate Protection in 2007. In 2015, the city joined the Compact of Mayors, a global initiative in which participating cities agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. After President Donald J. Trump announced his unilateral decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, then-Solana Beach Mayor Mike Nichols signed a “We Are Still In” letter to affirm the city’s commitment to the principles of the agreement.

City Manager Greg Wade said in a report that “declaring a climate emergency pledges substantive actions, elevates local urgency and awareness and sends a clear message of commitment to the community and the world that the City will combat the climate crisis.”

Solana Beach has also passed legislation to improve the environment, such as the restrictions it has imposed on single-use plastics, polystyrene food containers and similar products.

“A warming climate disproportionately affects all children, as little bodies are more susceptible to heat, stress and air pollution,” said Vi Nguyen, a general pediatrician, one of several public speakers who supported the resolution.

Solana Beach City Councilwoman Kristi Becker said the city has “exceptional commissioners that are strong, that are knowledgeable, that will take the time to research, look at other policies and come up with the best policies.”

“I do think that this declaration is important and will also spur us to, as our finances allow us to, try to do some really great things for the environment,” she said.