I am always proud of my city when I see it acting as a leader on environmental issues. From our commitment to our offshore marine reserves to the ordinance banning single-use plastic bags (which are now banned across the state), Laguna Beach has always been ahead of the curve. That’s why when I recently read through a list of nearly 300 U.S. city mayors who are pledging to carry through our nation’s commitments to the Paris Agreement following President Trump’s announcement that he would be leading out of the pivotal global agreement, I was surprised to see that Laguna Beach was not on the list yet.
There is no denying that Laguna Beach is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Our downtown businesses face financial losses due to damage caused by increased coastal flooding due to rising sea levels and our world-class tourism industry could lose approximately $14 million per year when our white sandy beaches erode away, according to a study by Duke University. Naturally, our progressive and reasonable City Council has taken steps to help our city meet the challenge of climate change head on. In 2007, the city signed on to a similar effort, called the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, and in 2009 developed the City of Laguna Beach Climate Protection Plan setting forth our commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These actions, as well as the effort to conduct a greenhouse gas inventory and monitor our annual progress in cutting emissions, positions Laguna Beach to sign a resolution adopting the spirit and goals of the Paris Agreement. This requires no additional planning, ordinance, or financial input.
I am posing a request to our forward-thinking City Council members to sign such a resolution and join with the 300 cities that make up the Climate Mayors network to signal to the world that while our president may not see an imperative for action, our local leaders do and they will be the ones who, together, will help the United States meet our pledge to addressing climate change and building resilient communities.
Sara Lowell, Laguna Beach