Chatham Climate Change Advisory Committee issues 10 recommendations

Pittsboro, NC – On November 1, the Chatham County Climate Change Advisory Committee issued their annual report.

Photo by Matt Palmer

The self-described purpose of the Committee has been to make recommendations to the Board of Commissioners and others regarding likely climate change impacts in Chatham County and ways to adapt to and mitigate these impacts, including: (a) reducing emissions of greenhouse gases (primarily CO2) with related improvements in air quality, (b) promoting the use of renewable energy, (c) promoting carbon neutral/green building standards for new and existing buildings both public and private (d) encouraging resilient and regenerative conservation-oriented land uses for both residential and commercial land development standards that foster climate change mitigation and adaptation and (e) seeking best practices to retain county trees cover.

Drawing on the County’s Comprehensive Plan of 2017, the recent research by the Committee, and in response to suggestions of County Commissioners, the Committee has identified 10 Recommendations that we believe could help guide policy making in the County in coming years. The Committee has prepared a brief overview presentation of these 10 items. We are prepared to offer them in greater detail for in-depth discussion in whatever formats the Commissioners deemed productive including what have been referred to as “summit” conversations.

Note that these recommendations represent a broad range of measures. Some of them are already in place and moving forward. In this case our recommendation is an endorsement of the initiative. Other recommendations are suggestions for action steps toward reaching goals articulated in the Plan Chatham document. And yet others are new suggestions for bringing greater focus on climate impacts and steps for local government action to mitigate and/or adapt.

For each of the 10 Recommendations, we have attempted to lay out suggested projects with measurable goals and sometimes with concrete intermediate steps/stages. In some of the most complex recommendations, we have suggested that the first step might be to design and hold a summit meeting with an appropriate mix of attendees, including interested members of the Board of Commissioners, County Staff, the CCAC, and other content experts or interested parties.

Finally, the County should consider establishing an annual time (such as Earth Day or Arbor Day) to report on progress in meeting Plan Chatham goals. The BOC should call on the relevant advisory committees including the Climate Change Advisory Committee to provide advice and input on measuring progress toward such goals.

The ten recommendations are:

1. Conserve Lands – Develop Strategy for 20,000 acres with interim goals

2. Tree Preservation – Develop tree protection ordinance

3. Promote Sustainable Agriculture – Hold a mini-summit

4. Learning Areas – Establish 10 carbon management demonstration areas in parks & public places

5. Green Space in New Developments – Set policies to ensure ample set asides

6. Cleaner County Fleets – Increase use of EVs and hybrid vehicles

7. Accessibility of EV Charging Stations

8. Reduce Emissions with Green Buildings

9. Green Jobs Summit

10. Climate Perspective in County Decisions and Progress Measurement

The Chatham County Climate Change Committee’s listed the items below as major accomplishments and activities of the past year.

● Engaged in substantial study of regenerative agriculture, including presentations by NCSU soil scientist and committee co-chair, with goal of making recommendations to the BOC

● Having been involved with a previous GHG Inventory project, provided basis and context for new GHG inventory, and provided critique of new inventory

● Studied many aspects of EV charging stations, including possible code amendments requiring new residences to be EV ready

● Engaged in substantial study of, and prepared report regarding, opportunities and obstacles to the use of electric school buses in the County

● Developed list of recommended climate action steps to recommend to the BOC

● Prepared draft Tree Protection Ordinance for the County

● Discussed with Planning Director possible incentives that might be used to encourage solar passive design for new residences

● Assisted in development of sustainability webpage


Gary Simpson – Pittsboro Rep

Ron Dameron – Siler City Rep

Mike Petruska – Member, Former Chair

Keith McLaurin – Member, Former Vice-Chair

John Graybeal – Member, Former Chair

Alicia Koblansky – Member

Ed Beroset – Member

Zach Wallace – Member

Nita Dukes – Co-Chair

Charlie Cooper – Co-Chair

Diana Hales – Commissioner Liaison

Kevin Lindley – Director DEQ

The positions on the committee representing the towns of Goldston and Siler City are vacant