CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – On Thursday, the Resiliency and Sustainability Advisory Committee for the City of Charleston voted to move the climate action plan forward. The hope is to reduce the city’s carbon footprint and create a better tomorrow.

City leaders said that when it comes to the Climate Action Plan, the government can’t solve this plan alone.

Chris Carnevale was one of the many residents who weighed in on the Climate Action Plan and agrees its necessary for the city to move forward with. He said, “it’s not just about saving the polar bears, but it’s about improving the quality of life and protecting the public health and protecting the livelihoods of people who live here in Charleston.”

Carnevale went on to add that to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we need to get to net-zero carbon by the middle of the century and about halfway to zero by 2030, and this plan helps us get on that path. 

The plan through the city’s Office of Sustainability focuses on climate mitigation measures to reduce emissions and will reduce emissions 56 % below 2018 values by the year 2030 via a 5-year plan. This would ultimately leave the City of Charleston emission neutral by 2050. 

Katie McKain, the Director of Sustainability for the City of Charleston, said when it came time to create a plan, they did look to other cities in the nation for inspiration. Ultimately, they knew it was important that the local community get involved.

McKain said the plan was truly crafted by the community as she believes the actions should be based on what our local goals and needs are.  

Katie McKain, the Director of Sustainability, said with 12 strategies and 51 action items that range from adding renewable energy to buildings to increasing use of public transit or pedestrian areas with transportation, increasing composting and recycling for waste, and expanding and protect tree canopies for carbon sinks, each action will have two or more benefits for Charlestonians.

Some of those benefits will range from cost savings to safety and even include cultural preservation. McKain said when it comes to how you can help: start small. One example is to simply bring reusable bags with you to the grocery store, and once you build a habit of that, then you can add something else.  

The next step for the Climate Action Plan is to head to the City Council for their consideration to be enacted.

To read the Climate Action Plan in full, click here.