Applause broke out in the Mayor and Council chamber on Monday, June 19, 2017, after the unanimous vote by the body to adopt a resolution supporting the Paris climate accord and reinforcing the city’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Rockville’s Environment Commission had unanimously advised the City to sign the letter.
During the meeting, Councilmember Mark Pierzchala, the liaison to the Environment Commission, attested that they debated the resolution vigorously and he thought “it is really well-aligned with what Rockville has been doing for years and years.Rockville has always been a leader in the State of Maryland.”
According to Marylou Berg, Director of Communication, the Mayor and Council joined a coalition of more than 1,200 people, including state and local elected officials, and leaders in education, business and religion, who signed the “We Are Still In” letter in support of the agreement. The open letter states a commitment to a global effort to hold warming below two degrees Celsius and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy.
Other signees include Montgomery County; Baltimore city; Gaithersburg; Garrett Park; College Park; Takoma Park; Washington Grove; Maryland’s treasurer and attorney general; the Commonwealth of Virginia; and Washington, D.C.
In a press release, Berg stated that he resolution “recognizes the Mayor and Council’s ‘strong legacy of commitments to climate leadership’, which includes signing the U.S. Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement in 2006 and adopting resolutions to become a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Green Power Community in 2011, and to enroll as a Maryland Smart Energy Community in 2013, establishing a 15% energy-efficiency goal and 20% renewable energy goal for city facilities and operations. It also states that the Mayor and Council will work with the community to develop a Rockville Climate Action Plan to reduce municipal and communitywide greenhouse gas emissions and recommend actions such as reducing energy consumption and growing the regional clean economy.”
County Executive Ike Leggett also released a statement about Montgomery County’s support for reducing carbon emissions, “Montgomery County has always been a leader in reducing emissions and we will continue our work to be good stewards locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. We take seriously the importance of increasing energy efficiency, growing renewable energy sources and reducing our greenhouse gases as much as possible. It is the right thing to do for our residents, our local economy and future generations and we will not waiver on our responsibilities.”
To reduce its footprint, Montgomery County has increased the number of electric and hybrid vehicles in its fleet, installed solar energy panels on many County buildings, and continues to be one of the nation’s largest local government purchasers of renewable energy. The County has also adopted a transportation policy that “considers ecosystem and climate impacts, reduces and prevents waste and pollution, and focuses on reducing energy consumption.”
In order to help businesses and residents in their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the County has established innovative financing tools to increase investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades through the implementation of a Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, and by becoming the first County in the nation to establish a Green Bank.