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Council to discuss climate action plan, Human Rights Commission on Tuesday

Charlottesville is hammering out the details of its plan to tackle climate change.

The City Council will receive an update on the crafting of its climate action plan during its virtual meeting Tuesday.

In July 2019, the council adopted a goal to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas output by 45% by 2030 and totally eliminate emissions by 2050.

The goal is tied to the Compact of Mayors, which the city joined in 2017. The group is a global coalition of mayors and city officials committed to curbing climate change.

The reduction numbers are based on 2011 outputs. As of 2016, the city was halfway to its 45% goal.

In October, city officials said about 90% of Charlottesville’s emissions are generated by residential and commercial sectors and citywide transportation.

City officials held virtual workshops in December to start directing strategies to reduce emissions.

Over the next six months, the group crafting the plan will create a committee, topic teams, discussion groups and task forces. The group also will hold public input sessions.

A staff report says the main focus of reducing emissions will center around improving energy efficiency and switching to lower or zero-carbon fuel and energy sources.

In other business, the council will review changes to the ordinance governing the Human Rights Commission.

The commission was established, along with the Office of Human Rights, in 2013. The commission is largely an advisory and community outreach panel, but also investigates discrimination complaints within city limits.

The commission, which has been scrutinized for its effectiveness since its inception, has been considering revisions to its ordinance since 2019.

According to a staff report, the amendments to the ordinance reflect recent changes in state laws, provides clarifications regarding investigations and brings the ordinance closer in line with the city’s Strategic Plan.

The council also will give a final vote on spending $3.5 million to hire 15 firefighters through the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant program.

The City Council typically meets on Monday, but will meet Tuesday this week because of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday. The council will kick off its meeting with reports at 4 p.m. followed by the regular meeting at 6:30 p.m.

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