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About that CAP 


Months after a draft was released by Humboldt County and made available for a very limited time before being withdrawn and hidden from view, the North Coast Journal finally offered coverage of the mysterious Humboldt Climate Action Plan ("Where's the CAP?" March 31).

It was refreshing to see some informed coverage of the bizarre turn of events that saw the draft of the CAP retracted after a brief release.

What was not so refreshing was the statement in the article that California had met early emissions reductions goals "through the implementation of the cap-and-trade program." Though it is a popular narrative, it is not factually correct.

While the Renewable Portfolio Standard has had an impact on bringing down emissions in the state by moving the electrical grid toward low-carbon sources such as solar power, the cap-and-trade program is actually under serious scrutiny because of the documented failures of the pollution trading mechanism to secure promised emissions reductions at the major stationary sources, such as oil refineries, that the program covers.

It is great to see the North Coast Journal make the overdue foray into covering the Humboldt CAP. The community will be best served when that coverage does not just blindly repeat common narratives but actually challenges assumptions about the way climate policy is being developed in the state and county.

Gary Graham Hughes, Redway


It is a mystery what has become of the county's Climate Action Plan, especially considering that the current board of supervisors has supported its overall emission reduction goals. A similar mystery exists behind the doors of Arcata's City Hall. Two years ago, Arcata's council was on the verge of banning natural gas hookups in most new buildings, and had set a goal of eliminating natural gas from the entire city limits by the year 2035. Both are important steps in reducing our carbon footprint, as well as cutting the public health risks of indoor gas use.

We may never solve these mysteries, but more than ever, we need to act. The differences between our ideologies, our philosophies on how to reduce climate change, or whether we even see it as a problem, pale in comparison to our common goal of passing on a habitable planet to those who live in the future.

Patrick Carr, Arcata


In 2017 the county board of supervisors revised the General Plan to increase sprawl and greenhouse gas emissions from driving. When General Plans increase greenhouse gas emissions, state law requires local governments to adopt countermeasures to balance the atmospheric books. Humboldt kicked the carbon can down the road instead, leaving it to the Climate Action Plan. Five years later we're still waiting. Other cities and counties have been sued for less. 

I spent months reading the research and burning up my calculator to see if Humboldt could cut emissions as far and as fast as scientists say we must. It can be done but requires tipping some sacred cows, like actual cows, solo driving, biomass burning, gas cooking and unhindered development. The October draft of the CAP didn't take these on in a big way and, perhaps as a way of keeping heads in the sand, failed to include resources and mechanisms to make sure its projected greenhouse gas reductions actually happen.

There is no magical CAP that cuts emissions in half without disturbing the status quo. If we wait for that, we'll be waiting forever and we're running out of time. Local electeds won't take on the hard stuff until they know they have our support. If you think the stakes are high enough to warrant bold measures now, please let your elected officials know. 

Wendy Ring, Bayside

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