Matt Tucker: Encouraging Truckee Donner PUD on decarbonization efforts
Editor’s note: The following submission is from public comments made at Nov. 3 at the Truckee Donner Public Utility District’s Board Meeting
First off, I want to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to all of the Truckee Donner PUD board members past and present as well as PUD staff who are responsible for getting Truckee out in front of the pack on adopting clean renewable energy. It is an impressive achievement, and an achievement that opens the door to the town of Truckee reaching its zero emission goals.
That said, I’m here to encourage all of you to be even more ambitious when it comes to the PUD’s goals regarding increasing our renewables mix and enabling electrification of our town’s transportation and buildings.
I stand here before you today as governments around the world are meeting in Glasgow Scotland at COP26. This is a crucial moment in the global effort to rein in climate change. The good news: 105 countries representing 2/3rds of the global economy signed on to cut methane emissions by 40% by 2030. The bad news: China, India and Russia, three countries that together are responsible for over a third of global methane emissions, decided to not even attend the conference.
Why am I bringing this up?
Frequently in conversations with reasonable, pragmatic people such as yourselves about action on climate change, they bring up fairness as one reason not to act unilaterally on climate change. “Its not fair that China isn’t doing as much about climate as we are.” Depending on how you measure “doing as much,” this could either be a true or false assertion. But getting into which country or state is doing more at any given moment in time is missing the point. Scientists have been very consistent with the message that humanity must reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to net zero by 2050 to avoid the worst effects of climate change, and in order to make that goal realistically achievable, we globally need to cut our GHG emissions in half by 2030. Even if Truckee meets those goals, there are many towns, cities, states and countries with goals very far from sufficiently ambitious to get us collectively to those goals.
Therefore, and this is where the Truckee Donner PUD comes in, if any government at any level or for that matter a public utility district has the political will to go further, that institution has a moral obligation to go further and faster than the goals specified by scientific consensus for the world as a whole.
So when it comes to increasing the PUD’s mix of renewables beyond 70%, when it comes to the PUD being an early adopter of new energy storage technology to make that increased renewables ambition possible, when it comes to the PUD enabling the electrification of transportation and buildings in Truckee … it is the moral obligation of all of the members of the Truckee Donner PUD Board of Directors to push to make Truckee a leader in decarbonizing our economy. Eventually, the rest of the world and the rest of our country will wake up to the consequences of inaction on climate, and at that point, other small towns will turn to Truckee for answers as to how to get to net zero emissions. Also, our leadership on adopting new clean technologies will bring down the price of adopting those technologies for those towns and cities that are behind the ball. All of this means that you all can make a meaningful difference in the climate outcome for our planet. Your children and grandchildren will thank you.
Matt Tucker is a 10-plus year full-time resident of Truckee
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