Indianapolis City-County Councilor John Barth introduced a proposal Friday to create a year-long commission to study the impact of climate change on Indianapolis and make recommendations to address it.
The commission would look at how climate change is affecting the city and recommend any needed proposals that would advance the priorities of the Thrive Indianapolis plan. The plan, which was approved by the Metropolitan Development Commission last February, details goals and action to be taken to help the city achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
Co-sponsored by Democratic city councilors Zach Adamson, Dan Boots, Keith Potts, Jessica McCormick, Crista Carlino and Ali Brown, the proposal is one of the first to be introduced by city councilors in 2020.
Democrats on the council now hold a supermajority with 20 council seats to the GOP’s five. Given enough support within their caucus, Democrats can approve their proposals with or without Republican councilors, but they likely would serve on the environment committee and offer input.
The council will meet Monday to formally introduce the measure. It would then be passed to the Rules and Public Policy committee for further review and recommendations. It could be approved by the full council as soon as later this month.
The proposal calls for the commission, which would be called the Commission on Environmental Sustainability, to do three things:
- Review the status of the city’s response to climate change, including the implementation of the Thrive Indianapolis plan.
- Recommend any needed council proposals to advance the priorities of the Thrive Indianapolis plan.
- Gather information from environmental experts and community members to recommend additional policy changes to advance the causes of sustainability and resilience for Indianapolis.
The commission would be made up of nine members, including three city-county councilors appointed by Council President Vop Osili (one would be designated the chair of the commission); one councilor appointed by council minority leader Brian Mowery; three citizens who would be referred to the committee by the commission chair and one citizen recommended by Mowery.
IBJ could not immediately contact Mowery on Friday for comment on the proposal.
The commission would encourage engagement with residents by holding the majority of its meetings outside the City-County Building and posting all materials online, according to a news release.
A report would be generated with recommendations, and those findings would be delivered to the full council by December 2020.
“Clean air, water, and soil should not be luxuries. Every resident of Indianapolis should expect a clean environment and establishing the Commission on Environmental Sustainability is an important step toward ensuring the Council is poised to take needed action,” Barth said in a media statement.
Indianapolis joins a growing number of Indiana communities looking at ways to address climate change.
Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard for years has advocated for his city to reduce its carbon footprint and has earned accolades for his climate advocacy. He’s served as co-chair on the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ energy and climate protection and task force and was also appointed to President Barack Obama’s climate preparedness task force.
And in Bloomington, Mayor John Hamilton this week proposed a local income tax increase of a half-percent to fund the city’s efforts to combat climate change.