Angelyn Tabalba

Clark County Takes Bold, Necessary Action On the Climate Crisis

Clark County Commissioners Adopt the First-Ever Sustainability and Action to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Today, the Clark County Commissioners voted to approve the County’s first Sustainability and Climate Action Plan that aims to address climate change by significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions from facilities and operations. The adoption of this plan represents the first of many our county will take to rebuild our community in the face of the COVID-19 public health crisis and the climate crisis. The full video of the County Commission meeting can be watched here and the plan can be read here

“Nevada’s government leaders are rising to the challenge brought by the climate crisis. Today, we are proud that Clark County will adopt a bold, yet approachable, climate strategy that commits us to a healthy and sustainable future where all Nevadans can thrive and also works in harmony with our state-wide climate initiative to get our state to net-zero emissions by the year 2050,” said Nevada Conservation League Executive Director Paul Selberg. “It’s up to all of us to lead on climate. We eagerly await an opportunity to work with the County to forge a path forward to create a stronger, more sustainable Nevada with a continued sense of cohesion and a focus on equity.”

“With the adoption of this plan today, Clark County and all departments should go All-In to increase sustainable practices, convert to electric vehicles, and reduce barriers to renewable development. That includes aligning our policies and capital expenditures with these priorities…It includes adopting code interpretations that are consistent with national standards for renewable development to ensure renewable projects can move forward without unnecessary delays and costs. It includes adopting energy efficiency codes even if off the 6-year cycle. It includes addressing the heat island effect — our community’s most significant and deadly environmental justice concern,” said District F County Commissioner Justin Jones. “It can’t be just another plan we stick on the shelf.”

Prior to the vote, Nevada Conservation League’s Organizing Manager, Andrew Sierra, offered public comment on the urgency to adopt a county-wide sustainability and action plan, along with recommendations to strengthen the plan moving forward.

A video of his remarks can be watched and downloaded here.

A text copy of Andrew’s remarks can be found below. 

The Commission meeting featured a presentation from the Clark County Department of Environment and Sustainability, sharing key components of the plan’s development and next steps for a community-wide plan. 

”With this plan, and the coordinated effort that the country has already taken, and will continue to take in the form of an upcoming community-wide plan, you will see support for a number of existing projects and priorities related to the diversification of the economy, and of course associated workforce development with that, public health, natural resources development, smart land use, and infrastructural improvement,” said Clark County Department of Environmental Sustainability Consultant Kim Lundgren. “With the government operations focus sustainability and climate action plan, the county is very well positioned to not only leverage these upcoming opportunities, but to urgently address climate change and ensure Southern Nevada’s long term economic, infrastructural, social as well as environmental resilience.”

“I want to address some of the comments we heard earlier about community engagement from Nevada Conservation League. On this community-wide plan, we will be opening up and looking for ways to engage the public,” said Clark County Department of Environment and Sustainability Director Marci Henson. “We are working to identify a strategy for outreach to both organized groups and individuals in both well-represented communities and marginal communities to make sure we are getting that input and feedback for a community-wide approach.”

Public Comment from Nevada Conservation League’s Organizing Manager, Andrew Sierra: 

The Nevada Conservation League and the thousands of Nevadans we represent understand that the climate crisis is an existential threat, hurting Nevada’s environment, health, and economy, and posing dangerous risks to our future generations. 

Now more than ever, we need leaders who recognize the severity of climate change and are committed to taking bold action to address this crisis. 

Today, we applaud the Clark County Commission for its leadership in creating a county sustainability and climate action plan that outlines steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its operations and facilities. 

The Sustainability and Climate Action Plan is a bold first step, but there is still so much that we can do to establish a clean energy future in our community.

As noted in the plan, currently 62% of Clark County’s electrical energy generation comes from methane gas, or so-called “natural” gas — a harmful fossil fuel and climate pollutant. 

However, Nevada remains a leader in solar energy, ranking 4th for solar electric growth. We must consider using Nevada’s local clean energy sources like solar and geothermal to meet our needs as a smarter alternative.

And fighting the climate crisis requires all hands on deck. In pursuing the next steps to develop a climate action plan, we hope to see the Commission conduct dedicated outreach to all communities so they can be represented and engaged — especially communities of color who have been most impacted by the climate crisis. 

Additionally, we believe that appointing a community steering committee to oversee the work and offering virtual town halls to hear from diverse experts and community members will help strengthen the next phase of this work and build a habit of inclusive and transparent communication practices between government and the public. 

Clark County can and must lead the way on climate action. 

Again, we are proud to see this plan come forward and support the approval of the County’s Climate Action plan. 

We thank you for considering our recommendations and look forward to working together to confront the climate crisis by building resilient communities and ecosystems. 

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