Ypsilanti is following Ann Arbor’s lead in drafting a plan to achieve carbon neutrality by the year 2035.
On Tuesday, Nov. 19, the Ypsilanti City Council decided to draft a plan on how the city could become carbon neutral in 15 years. The draft plan will be presented on March 31, approaching the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
The Ann Arbor City Council pursued a similar course in early November in an effort to respond to the climate crisis. In a Nov. 4 Ann Arbor City Council meeting, the council unanimously declared a state of emergency, passing a resolution outlining a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. Ann Arbor will also be revealing its draft plan for achieving carbon neutrality around Earth Day next year.
Washtenaw County declared a local and global climate emergency on Sept.18. As of Wednesday night, the county allocated $30,000 in funding to hire a consultant to complete greenhouse gas inventory as part of the county’s plan to counter climate change.
These new carbon neutrality resolutions were met with cautious optimism by the current councilmembers. City officials from Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti were both wary of the ambitious nature of the plans.
Ypsilanti officials voiced their concerns about the lack of resources available to Ypsilanti compared to Ann Arbor — specifically in developing a thorough carbon neutrality draft in only three and a half months.
During a city council meeting on Nov. 4, Ann Arbor City Councilmember Ali Ramlawi, D-Ward 5, said he was concerned about the likelihood of the Ann Arbor actually achieving these goals.
“All you’ve got is your word in this life,” Ramlawi said. “And we’re never going to hit these targets the way we are moving on these other issues.”
Ramwali’s concerns about city council were not unfounded. The following city council meeting, the members debated introducing carbon-neutral aspects to provisions for affordable housing. This resolution was rejected 6-5, with Councilmembers Jeff Hayner, D-Ward 1; Anne Bannister, D-Ward 1; Jane Lumm, I-Ward 2; Jack Eaton, D-Ward 4; and Nelson supporting it.
LSA senior Dim Mang is involved with the Climate Action Movement and said she worries the city council is not supporting the climate neutrality plan with concrete actions.
“I think that you can support it in theory and then talk as much as you’d like … but if you’re not actually going to go through on, you know, housing plans for things like that, their activism and their advocacy is not enough,” Mang said.