Board affirms commitment to address climate change

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

In early December 2017, the Board of Commissioners passed a resolution (3-0) that affirms the county’s commitment to addressing climate change, reducing greenhouse gas emission and developing a climate action plan.

The Board joins Oregon State Government, nine local governments, thirteen colleges and universities, and more than 50 organizations and private businesses within Oregon by signing the “We Are Still In” pledge to institute and implement the intent of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

In addition to signing the “We Are Still In” pledge, the resolution commits Benton County to:

  • Continue monthly tracking of facility resource use including: electricity, natural gas, fleet fuels, and water; and require publicizing results on the County website by February 2018.
  • Analyze current resource use and identify an aggressive greenhouse gas emissions goal by February 2018.
  • Develop a Climate Change Action Plan to achieve the greenhouse gas emissions goal by August 2018.

The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change. Additionally, the agreement aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change.

“We know that in order to take actions to mitigate impacts from climate change, we need to approach sustainability practices from economic, environmental and social lenses,” said Annabelle Jaramillo, County Commissioner.

“We are working actively to ensure our countywide plans use a systems level approach that considers climate change and human health impacts. The health of the people that live, work and play in our county, and the natural resources that make Benton County so unique are top priority.”

In 2015 Benton County Health Services staff completed a comprehensive assessment of the human health and environmental impacts resulting from projected climate change within Benton County and the surrounding region. Major impacts identified from the assessment include increased chances of:

  • Extreme Weather Events (Storm, Heat, Snow/Ice, Flooding, Landslides, High Winds, etc.)
  • Drought
  • Wildfire/Forest Fires
  • Human Health Impacts
  • Habitat & Wildlife Impacts
  • Governance/Operations

To learn more, watch this video that further discusses how Benton County is responding to climate change: