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El Paso City Council approves supporting Paris Climate Accord Agreement

The city of El Paso is moving forward in joining more than 300 mayors across the country in upholding Paris Climate Agreement goals.

City council representatives approved directing the city manager to draft a resolution in support of the Paris Climate Accord Agreement during Tuesday’s city council meeting for the mayor to sign.

City representative Peter Svarzbein said he posted the item to help El Paso continue what it’s already been doing: protecting the environment.

“It’s something that our city has been on the forefront in terms of conservation. And it’s something that quite frankly, it’s within our responsibility and necessity to do so,” Svarzbein said.

More than 350 mayors across the country, including Mayor Ken Miyagishima, have agreed to be a part of Climate Mayors or Mayors Climate Action Agenda.

Svarzbein said the city has been on the right track.

“We actually have an opportunity to show off some of the things that we have been doing and teach other communities how to be more sustainable and resilient,” Svarzbein told the council and mayor. “We’ve been on the forefront of water conservation, with the El Paso water utility, the Brio the streetcar line, these are all multi mobile transit opportunities that allow our city and our citizens to cut down on our carbon emission to be able to use a comprehensive transportation system that we’re building for the 21st century.”

The agreement is a non-binding resolution, which means there is no binding or financial commitment, but an agreement to, among other things, meet U.S greenhouse gas emissions targets under the Paris Climate Accord.

Cary Westin, deputy City manager for the Economic Development and Tourism Department said El Paso’s efforts to preserve energy began three years ago, when the city was awarded the “100 Resilient Cities Grant.”

“These are to mitigate some of the effects of different stressors or friction points to a community,” Westin said.

Westin tells ABC-7 it’s helped make the community more sustainable in different areas. He said the city added more Brio transit lines and incentives for commercial development in those routes. The city also implemented unique water technology next to their desalination plant, producing 11,000 more fresh gallons of water daily.

Westin said the city is moving forward with conservation efforts.

“We have now taken the resilience strategy, the major goals and actions, and we have incorporated that into our strategic plan,” Westin said.

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