Climate Task Force Readying Report
Officials discuss joint city-county report on environmental strategies due in March.
The recently formed City-County Task Force on Climate and Economic Equity continues to meet, seeking information and asking questions as it attempts to craft a strategy for environmental stewardship for Milwaukee’s local governments.
The Common Council aided the effort Tuesday by pushing back the task force’s deadline to March to produce a preliminary report and identify a timeline for a comprehensive plan.
But even generating a preliminary report is a source of debate for the group.
“Is anyone else under the impression that a preliminary report is more a report on conversations about conversations?” asked task force co-chair County Supervisor Supreme Moore Omokunde during a meeting last week. The group had just been briefed on the city’s recycling program.
Ted Kraig of Wisconsin Climate Table suggested a more succinct approach. “I personally think we need to be very clear, we want these three or four things.” He suggested each workgroup report its findings, challenges and processes for moving forward.
“It sounds eminently reasonable,” said task force co-chair Alderman Nik Kovac.
The final report would provide an update to the city’s 2012 sustainability plan and also guide county efforts. Task force member Barbara Richards suggested a template that would interlink the report with the city and county’s other plans and demonstrate how they work together.
Erick Shambarger, Milwaukee’s director of environmental sustainability, said the process is needed. “It’s outdated,” said Shambarger of the 2012 plan.
But that doesn’t mean nothing has happened on the environmental front. “We really do struggle with getting the word out,” said Shambarger. Recent work includes incrementally adding solar installations atop city buildings in an attempt to generate 25 percent of the city’s electricity from renewable resources by 2025.
Community member Bruce Wiggins said that whatever the task force does it should make sure it uses a data-driven approach.
The task force has four workgroups: Greenhouse Gas Inventory, Finance and Funding, Jobs and Equity and Education and Outreach.
Additional task force members include August Ball of Cream City Conservation, Pam Fendt of Milwaukee Area Labor Council, Julie Kersick of Community Advocates Public Policy Institute, Ayanna Lee of Milwaukee Youth Council, George Martin of NAACP Milwaukee Chapter, Pamela Ritger of Clean Wisconsin, Rafael Smith of Citizen Action of Wisconsin and environmental lawyer Janet Meissner Pritchard.
The task force first met on November 11th and is scheduled to meet again on January 31st.
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