Urbana reduce emissions by 2020, University not included

The Sustainability Advisory Commission issued a proposal to reduce emission levels for the City of Urbana at its city council meeting on Monday.

The commission has adopted a mission statement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020, said Rod Fletcher, environmental manager for the sustainability advisory commission.

“We’re looking at various plans and scoping out reduction strategies,” Fletcher added. “I think we’re positioning ourselves pretty well.”

To reach the goal of reducing emission levels by 25 percent by the year 2020, the city has to reduce levels by 2.5 percent each year. The commission will be hosting two public informational meetings to discuss possible reduction strategies that residents can implement, to explain climate change and to learn what is causing this in the environment.

“It’s important to encourage the entire community to be proactive,” said Dennis Roberts, Ward 5.

Fletcher suggested that the proposal is a huge endeavor to undertake by the city.

“This is a process; it’s not a one time thing,” Fletcher said. “It will be integrated and institutionalized. This will be measured; it will be an ongoing process.”

Other committee members said they agreed that this is a much needed but ambitious proposal.

Brandon Bowersox, Ward 4, said that he was excited to be moving forward with this plan.

“I think we are ahead of our region,” he said. “It’s a huge reduction … that we have to change how we live. Changes will have to come in a lot of different places. It’s exactly how we can guide people to change business, change government. There’s a lot of public engagement.”

However, other members of the Urbana City Council said the council seemed hesitant that the University is excluded in this reduction plan.

“I don’t know how we can separate the University from the city,” said Diane Marlin, Ward 7. “I just don’t think it makes sense.”

The University, on the other hand, is preparing its own climate action plan to reduce greenhouse emission levels, said Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing. She added that the University will be initiating its own plans and protocols by May of this year.