The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to approve a resolution Tuesday that aligns the county with the Paris Climate Accord, which President Trump recently announced the United States was withdrawing from.
The resolution reaffirms the county’s commitment to studying and preparing for the impacts of climate change, and includes the creation of a special task force to assess which climate related efforts to prioritize. Pima County will implement greenhouse gas, carbon and water-use goals adopted in the 2014 Sustainable Action Plan, as well as measures laid out in the county’s comprehensive Pima Prospers plan.
The meeting had high turnout from the public, with a sizable majority in support of the resolution and expressing concerns about climate change’s impacts on the local ecosystem and public health.
John Laitner, an international resource economist with a small consulting firm in Pima County who spoke during a call to the public, said the ecosystem is just one issue impacted by climate change.
“Inefficient use of resources ... it really does detract from the productivity of the larger economy,” he said. “Hence, a smart climate strategy, one that encourages productive investment in energy efficiency actually will move the economy to the forefront.”
Supervisor Ally Miller voted no on the resolution, stating there must be a balance between protecting the environment and the economy.
“This agreement is less about the climate,” she said. “We all know it’s about the transfer of wealth from the United States. Why would we want to transfer jobs to countries that are the world’s largest polluters?”
Supervisor Steve Christy said the resolution was a diversion from local issues affecting the county.
“Here we go again, grandstanding on the national stage when we have a county to run,” he said.
“You may not think it makes a difference, but how we run this county and how we think about climate change affects our budget in every way possible,” Supervisor Richard Elías said before the vote.
Christy and Miller were the two votes against the resolution.