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Meeting Date: 06/15/2021  
From: Nicole Antonopoulos, Sustainability Director

Consideration and Adoption of Resolution No. 2021-34:  A resolution adopting the Flagstaff Carbon Neutrality Plan
1) Read Resolution No. 2021-34 by title only
2) City Clerk reads Resolution No. 2021-34 by title only (if approved above)
3) Adopt Resolution No. 2021-34
Executive Summary:
In response to community appeals, in June 2020, the Flagstaff City Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2020-09 endorsing a Declaration of a Climate Emergency for the City of Flagstaff. The Climate Emergency Declaration outlines the following priorities for the mobilization of resources.  The City of Flagstaff will:
  • Dramatically increase its ambition to combat climate change through bold action.
  • Ensure this mobilization effort is City-wide, spanning all sectors of the Flagstaff economy and community.
  • Prioritize appropriate funding for the implementation of climate goals and action.
  • Engage and educate our residents about the current climate emergency and inspiring action, especially Flagstaff's youth.
  • Strive for full community participation and leadership by residents of Flagstaff, community organizations and other allies.
  • Keep the concerns of vulnerable and historically underserved communities central to all climate emergency mobilization efforts and facilitate their active participation in this work.
  • Develop and reinforce respectful collaborations with surrounding Tribal nations, traditional agricultural communities, regional governments, the State of Arizona, and the U.S. Government.
  • Prioritize adaptation and mitigation in all City decision-making processes.
  • Prioritize the creation of high-quality, good-paying jobs with comprehensive benefits for those who will be impacted by this transition.
These priorities guided the drafting of the Flagstaff Carbon Neutrality Plan (the Plan).  The Plan establishes a vision for how Flagstaff will create a carbon-neutral future. Achieving this goal will require reducing greenhouse gas emissions through drastic shifts in how we heat and power our buildings, travel from place to place, and manage our waste. These shifts must occur at multiple levels within the community, as well as across the state, the country, and the world. This Plan includes nine target areas for reducing our community's emissions, each with specific strategies to guide Flagstaff's work. They include:
  • Community Resilience
  • Equitable Systems
  • Decreased Dependence on Cars
  • Electric Mobility
  • Clean Electricity
  • Building Fuel Switching
  • Reduced Building Energy Use
  • Sustainable Consumption and Waste Management
  • Carbon Dioxide Removal
This Plan will guide the City of Flagstaff as it works to achieve carbon neutrality and respond to the climate emergency.

This Plan sets a vision, overarching goals, and specific strategies to reach carbon neutrality and other elements of Flagstaff’s Climate Emergency Declaration. This Plan will guide the City of Flagstaff’s decisions about policies, funding, investments, and program development.

This Plan is also a communication tool, to help Flagstaff community members understand the City’s goals, strategies, and potential actions. This Plan identifies areas for action by individuals, opportunities for collaboration with businesses, and how these issues are interconnected.
Financial Impact:
Funding for the implementation of Plan strategies will need to come from within the City budget, agency grants, and new revenue sources. Some actions in the Plan require capital investment in City infrastructure. Others will require increases in annual operating budgets. Some actions are potential candidates for state, federal, or foundation funding.

Funding options include:
  • Increase existing City fees on certain activities, such as increasing the Environmental Management Fee.
  • Propose a new sales tax that would have to be approved by voters, similar to how Cities pay for road projects, municipal buildings, and other large city investments.
  • Issue bonds, a mechanism for the City to pay for large infrastructure projects.
  • Apply for grants from the federal government and private organizations or foundations.
  • Allocate City resources to climate-focused initiatives.
  • Establish a local emissions reduction fund, to allow individual donations to fund emissions-reducing projects.

Staff are developing a financial impact and avoided cost plan and will return to City Council in the fall.
Policy Impact:
The Plan includes several strategies that will have long-term impacts on City policy, including but not limited to the Zoning Code, Engineering Standards, and the Solid Waste Code. Each of these policy recommendations will be vetted among stakeholders and then brought to City Council for discussion and consideration.
Connection to PBB Key Community Priorities/Objectives & Regional Plan:
Council Goals:
Take meaningful climate change action.  
Regional Plan:
Goal E.1. Increase energy efficiency.
Goal E.2. Expand production and use of renewable energy.
Goal E&C.1. Proactively improve and maintain the region’s air quality.
Goal E&C.2 Reduce Greenhouse gas emissions.
Goal E&C.3 Strengthen community and natural environment resiliency through climate adaptation efforts.
Goal E&C.4. Integrate the best available science into all policies governing the use and conservation of Flagstaff’s natural resources.
Has There Been Previous Council Decision on This:
Yes, on June 23, 2020 the City Council unanimously adopted the Climate Emergency Declaration.
Options and Alternatives:
Option A. Adopt Resolution 2021-34 as submitted and adopt the Plan to guide City staff.
Option B. Recommend changes to Resolution 2021-34.
Option C. Not adopt Resolution 2021-34 and not establish goals and a planning framework to take meaningful climate action.
In 2017 the City Council established a goal to take meaningful climate action.  As part of this goal, staff were directed to develop a climate action plan.
Key Considerations:
Global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are changing the climate in ways that threaten Flagstaff’s unique amenities and way of life. Projected changes in temperature, snowpack, water availability, and wildfire risk exacerbate existing challenges and introduce new challenges to Flagstaff’s natural resources, economy, infrastructure systems, and quality of life. While we can work to reduce Flagstaff’s contributions to those climate changes, preparing for inevitable impacts of these changes in Flagstaff is necessary.

By taking action now to reduce the community’s emissions and prepare for climate risks, the City of Flagstaff can better protect the wellbeing of its residents for decades to come. There are many community benefits to climate action, while the cost of inaction is incredibly high.
Expanded Financial Considerations:
While there are proposed initiatives in the Plan that have financial implications, these initiatives will still be subject to review and approval through the regular budget process in the future. Initiatives will be evaluated against greenhouse gas emission reductions, benefits to the community, return on investment, and financial impact.
Community Benefits and Considerations:
Many of the strategies and actions in the Flagstaff Climate Action and Adaptation Plan will enhance quality of life for Flagstaff residents. For example, the introduction of energy-saving equipment and behaviors not only addresses climate goals but can also lower energy costs. This plan prioritizes these “win-win” solutions that benefit both the climate and other facets of the Flagstaff community. Some co-benefits include the following: Support for low-income and disadvantaged communities. When implemented carefully and correctly, actions such as local green job training and subsidy programs for energy efficiency upgrades can be especially helpful for low-income and disadvantaged communities. Public health. Some actions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions also promote healthier lifestyles, such as supporting more people walking and biking and eating less carbon-intensive foods.
Quality of life and well-being. Many climate actions can also improve quality of life for Flagstaff residents, such as benefits from green jobs to the local economy and creation of more comfortable and inviting homes through energy efficiency improvements. Local habitat, recreation, and aesthetics. In addition to enhancing ecosystem resilience, minimizing heat impacts, and storing carbon, actions that improve natural habitat can also enhance natural beauty and provide recreation opportunities for visitors and residents. Economic stability. Looking ahead can help the Flagstaff community prepare for potential shifts in both climate and visitation. Climate action can help existing businesses be more resilient amidst change, while emerging businesses capitalizing on the need for climate solutions can create high-quality jobs.
Community Involvement:
Staff utilized used a number of different strategies to engage more than 1,000 community members in this Plan.
  • Four Open House series in January, April, July and October helped staff to update the community on Plan progress and help residents learn about climate change. At these events we asked community members for their concerns, and what type of actions they want to see Flagstaff take.
  • Four community forum surveys were posted. We also worked with a Steering Committee to hear differing perspectives from the community.
  • Staff spoke at events around the community, hosted informational tables, did radio interviews, and earned media coverage, to expand engagement.
Res. 2021-34
Carbon Neutrality Plan


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