CECAP needs more advocacy
In September 2021, Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors adopted the county’s first-ever Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan (CECAP; see Nature Forward’s introductory post from 2020 on CECAP). The plan’s goals include aggressive carbon emissions reductions when compared to a 2005 baseline:
- 50% lower by 2030
- 75% lower by 2040
- Carbon neutral by 2050 (with no more than 13% of emission reductions coming from the purchase of carbon offsets)
Staff spent a year developing CECAP’s implementation plan to lay out the details behind just how the county would achieve the emissions reductions. This implementation plan was presented to the Board in December 2022 (watch the presentation).
The 61-page PDF implementation plan has a lot of content and a list of nearly 100 tasks, but it has few metrics to help us prioritize where we can reduce carbon most expediently and measure the success of those actions.
Funding will be required to make this implementation plan come to life. A sense of urgency and strong leadership will be required to move from “planning” to “doing” to ensure Fairfax County is doing all it can to attack this climate crisis.
Talking points for your letter
Your Supervisor needs to hear from you to help shape the most effective climate action plan possible. Reaching aggressive targets on time will take bold leadership. Some points you might consider including in your message are:
- Include a brief introduction and a thank you.
(a) Thank your Supervisor for supporting the adoption of CECAP.
Note if you live in Springfield: Supervisor Herrity was absent for the vote,
but expressed his intent to abstain from the vote due to cost.
(b) Tell a short, personal story about why taking bold climate action is important to you.
- Hire the right people to be the climate leader in the DC region.
As the biggest county in Virginia, Fairfax County has the chance to shine as a climate leader both in the state and in the region. But we need to have the right expertise to get the job done. Fairfax County should seek to hire leaders who have implementation experience with climate plans and can help us achieve our goals.
- Support funding to achieve aggressive CECAP implementation goals.
The County Executive is in the process of drafting Fairfax County’s upcoming budget, due to be released on or around February 21, 2023. You can ask both that the County Executive propose aggressive funding targets and also that your Supervisor supports sufficient funding for the staffing needs and program support.
- Demand clear metrics for success.
How will the tasks laid out for the Board of Supervisors achieve the greenhouse gas reductions we have set in this plan? These metrics should be clear, not just overall or generally per section (as is currently in the plan), but in a concrete form for each active initiative.
- Be bold on land use decisions.
Every action we take today will affect us for decades, whether positively or negatively. Ask your Supervisor to make smart land use decisions that further our climate goals. We don’t need more gas stations, expansive parking lots and roads, or tree loss. We need transit-oriented development, affordable housing, and additional green infrastructure and tree canopy equitably spread out across the county.
Thank you for speaking up as 2023 begins with this important implementation plan!