Encinitas rally urges local action on climate change


Dozens of people holding signs like “We have no planet B” and “Denial is cowardice” rallied on Nov. 29 at the corner of Coast Highway 101 and Encinitas Boulevard in support of the Paris Climate Summit.

The event was part of a global day of climate change activism, but the focus was on acting locally.

Encinitas resident Lane Sharman said that the city should adopt a new energy model called a Community Choice Aggregation, or CCA. A CCA would allow Encinitas to bypass San Diego Gas & Electric to purchase its energy directly from providers, boosting renewable energy in the city.

“We have to de-carbonize the supply of energy, and this is the way to do it,” Sharman said, noting Marin County launched the first CCA in 2010.

The Encinitas City Council on Dec. 9 will consider whether to form a CAA work group. Proponents of the model say it’s a way to obtain cheaper and cleaner power, while critics argue it presents long-term financial risks.

Sharman said moving to a CCA is “the biggest step” the city can take in cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say cause global warming.

Others during the rally said alternative transportation and green energy should be prioritized across the region. The Encinitas event, one of many internationally, came on the eve of 150 world leaders gathering in Paris in hopes of reaching a deal to slow the pace of climate change.

After those at the Encinitas rally waived signs at the intersection for an hour, they made the short walk to Moonlight Beach and listened to North County leaders talk about efforts to pass environmentally-friendly policies.

Encinitas Deputy Mayor Catherine Blakespear said various industries lobby against eco measures like the city’s proposed Styrofoam ban, so action won’t be taken unless those who care about climate change speak up.

“We need the voices like yours who are thinking globally and acting locally and saying ‘I don’t want to see that Styrofoam on our beaches.’ Then when I vote, I can feel like I’m standing on the shoulders of people who care about the same things I do,” Blakespear said.

Blakespear also touted the Cardiff rail trail — a planned biking and walking path alongside San Elijo Avenue — as a way to cut down on emissions. Debate over the rail trail has flared up in recent weeks with dueling websites, and Blakespear said it “really matters” that supporters of the path started, otherwise opposition to the rail trail would dominate the conversation.

Former Escondido Mayor Jerry Harmon said moneyed interests often promote policies that aren’t good for the environment. He said direct democracy measures, like Encinitas’ Proposition A, should be adopted countywide to help counter such influences.

Prop A, a controversial ballot initiative approved by Encinitas voters in 2014, requires a public vote for zoning changes that increase density.

Assistant Presbyterian Pastor Tom Theriault of Solana Beach said fighting climate change means sacrificing now to help future generations.

“I suspect the people meeting in Paris this coming week or two — heads of states, scientists — a lot of their discussions and debate will be around this one little word: sacrifice.”