Waco Friends of the Climate normally meets on the first Monday of the month at Poppa Rollo’s Pizza, at 703 N. Valley Mills Dr. in Waco, with a free buffet followed by a documentary film or a guest speaker.

To subscribe to our email list and learn about our meetings, campaigns and actions, please email anorthc@aol.com

To enter the 4th Annual Climate Crisis Art Exhibit in October 2020, please email anorthc@aol.com

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Waco Trib Editorial 2/13/2019: Renewables push for municipal operations benefits from hard facts, leadership vision

Advocates seeking to shift city of Waco municipal operations to 100 percent renewable energy in the near future may voice frustration at the pace of change, but last week’s meeting of the Sustainable Resources Practices Advisory Board should hearten all, given the discouraging tone of January’s meeting. The worthy topic of renewable energy last month became entangled amid discussions of protocol and propriety involving a formal board recommendation to the Waco City Council.

By sharp contrast, the advisory board last week unanimously approved a letter assembled by City Manager Wiley Stem III urging the council to consider 100 percent renewables in upcoming contract negotiations for energy purchase (even if, yes, without hard and fast timelines). It proposes that Stem’s office designate city staffers to collaborate with the advisory board to evaluate building energy audits, new construction requirements, power purchase agreements, transportation and more.

And if this decided change of heart isn’t enough, Councilman Jim Holmes rates praise for reminding city administrators and fellow council members of the need to more concertedly consider renewable energy in the future. This “tangential observation” arose during last week’s otherwise routine council discussion of the city’s contract with an energy-consulting and management services firm over competitive procurement of electricity and natural gas.

Holmes, describing himself a “big fan of renewable energy,” indicated he was fine with the consultant under discussion, “but as we talk about renewable energy and as it enters the community conversation, I just want us to be armed with facts.” He asked that the city “get me personally and the council more informed with facts as they have to do with conversion to renewable energy, conversion costs, market availability, scalability, timing and all that. I just want to be armed with better data than what’s out there right now as it has to do with the city of Waco.”

Yes, renewables figure into the broader, admittedly controversial question of climate change. While some political orthodoxy counts heavily on climate-change denial, at least as caused by man, can we really afford to take the chance most climatology scientists are wrong if our children and grandchildren are at risk? Is their wellbeing not worth some insurance in the form of renewables as a worthy environmental goal, even if the bridge to greater use of renewables is paved with fossil fuels?

During his presentation for board members, environmental warrior Alan Northcutt warned against myopic ideology in this realm: “Our main point is that this recommendation should be based on the science. What needs to be done is for the city ultimately to go 100 percent renewable. We cannot continue to use fossil fuels indefinitely.” In their own way, councilmen Holmes and John Kinnaird and even City Manager Wiley Stem III suggest the very same reliance on facts, if only to better scale challenges, hurdles and doubts down the winding road to environmental purity.

To subscribe to FOP/Climate email list: anorthc@aol.com

Monday, February 11, 2019

Waco Tribune-Herald Article About February 7th SRPAB Meeting

Sustainability board stops short of call for renewable commitment, to continue talks

After months of debating whether to call on the Waco City Council to commit to using 100 percent renewable energy sources for municipal purposes in the coming years, a city advisory board unanimously approved a letter Thursday that stops short of that goal.

The letter, assembled by City Manager Wily Stem III, who sits on the board, urges the city to consider 100 percent renewables in upcoming contract negotiations for its energy purchase contract. It also recommends that Stem’s office designate city staffers to work with the Sustainable Resources Practices Advisory Board to evaluate building energy audits, new construction requirements, power purchase agreements, transportation and more.

“We have a place to start,” board Chairwoman Janet Wallace said.

Alan Northcutt, a local physician and environmental advocate, said he is disappointed by the letter. It does not go far enough toward a commitment to renewable energy and has “no teeth,” Northcutt said.

Northcutt and board member Sarah Brockhaus kicked off the board’s consideration of renewable energy when they presented a proposal in December to urge the city to commit to renewable sources.

“Our main point is that this recommendation should be based on the science,” he said during Thursday’s meeting. “What needs to be done is for the city ultimately to go 100 percent renewable. We cannot continue to use fossil fuels indefinitely.”

Brockhaus, who represents Baylor University on the board, said she reluctantly supported the letter that was adopted. A timeline for the city’s objectives should have been included, she said.

Brockhaus also pushed for continued discussion on the original proposal, which includes a draft resolution on renewable energy for the council.

Other board members said they agree the letter should only be the first step toward a resolution for the council to consider. The board will meet again in April.

During a city council meeting Tuesday, Councilman Jim Holmes requested city staff prepare a presentation on the viability of renewable energy sources. Councilman John Kinnaird, who serves as the council’s liaison to the sustainability board, supported Holmes’ request and also asked for a summary of all of the city’s ongoing sustainability efforts.

Progressive Film Series: February 19, 2019

Fahrenheit 11/9

Tuesday, February 19th
Poppa Rollo's Pizza
703 N. Valley Mills Drive
6 PM: Free Spaghetti/Salad Buffet, followed by film & discussion
Runtime 128 Minutes

Fahrenheit 11/9, the latest documentary film by Michael Moore, focuses on the 2016 presidential election and the resulting presidency of Donald Trump, as well as such topics as the Flint, Michigan, water crisis and the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018.  The film features Moore’s usual masterful blend of insightfulness and humor and is both educational and inspirational. 

"Fahrenheit 11/9 finds Michael Moore in fine fighting form, delivering a political call to action that ranks among his most effective works." – Rotten Tomatoes Critical Consensus 

To subscribe to FOP/Climate email list: anorthc@aol.com



At the Thursday, February 7th Board meeting, City Manager Wiley Stem III presented a new letter to the City Council that he had assembled based in part on the recommendations for decarbonization that Sarah Brockhaus and Alan Northcutt had written and presented to the Board in December, 2018.  In an amazing change of heart since January, the Board unanimously approved the document.  It does contain important steps in decarbonization, including:  energy efficiency audits, transition to renewable energy for municipal power needs, steps to incentivize citizens and businesses to purchase renewable energy, local renewable power generation,  transportation transition to EVs, support for sustainable practices by businesses and citizens, and installation of or incentives for EV rapid charging stations. 

Although a 100% renewable energy pledge was not established, the letter noted "studying in more detail the feasibility of a transition to 100% renewable energy for City operations."  Of course, the science requires a much stronger goal:  reaching 100% renewable energy or 'net zero' emissions by 2050--and this means in all sectors of Waco, including power, transportation, industry, cooling, heating and cooking. 

After almost 2 years of our Go Renewable Waco campaign, this is an important step, but we consider Thursday a partial victory because there were no clear timelines for accomplishing these goals.  We will continue the struggle by monitoring for action and hopefully establishing some goal deadlines.

To subscribe to FOP/Climate email list: anorthc@aol.com

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Final Reminder


Sustainable Resource Practices Advisory Board meeting
Waco City Hall, 300 Austin Ave, Waco, TX 76701
3rd Floor Conference Room
Assemble 3:45pm, Session begins at 4:00 pm

We must maintain a strong crowd to receive our 10 minutes speaking time, according to their new rules.

If we have over 10 supporters, other folks can speak for 3 minutes and express support for the rapid decarbonization of the City of Waco.  So if you didn't have an opportunity to speak previously--PLEASE ATTEND.   Thank you.

Readers of the Waco Tribune-Herald will know that a story about our campaign appeared February 3rd on the front page, above the fold!   So the visibility of the campaign has increased and the stakes are skyrocketing.

Please be assured that we are doing all we can  behind the scenes to contact Board members, members of City Council and other interested parties to improve our chances of a positive outcome on Feb. 7th.

ALL MEMBERS & SUPPORTERS:  this week, before Feb. 7th  please contact any Sustainability Board members, City Council members, and friends who will attend the meeting on Thursday.  Our message:  Support the rapid transition of Waco to all  renewable energy.