Over the past several weeks, I’ve shared my comprehensive plan for Round Rock to take action on climate change. I started by invoking JFK and laying down the challenge. I believe this is a challenge the people of Round Rock are willing to accept and unwilling to postpone. Once we determine the baseline for Round Rock’s carbon footprint, we need to establish goals and timelines to reduce this footprint, both in our city operations–the fleet and facilities the city directly controls, and in the wider community–the businesses and residents of Round Rock.

This will not be an easy or quick fix. It will take a long term effort. But the most important thing is to begin.

At this point, you might be saying, “Blane I agree this is a problem and that something needs to be done about it. But why Round Rock? Isn’t this going to cost us something?”

Round Rock is in a unique and exciting position: We are part of one of the fastest growing metro areas in the nation and set to double in population in the coming decades. We are pragmatic and progressive. We want to lead. We feel the need to lead. There is increasing bi-partisan agreement on the issue of climate change. The truth is, it should be a non-partisan issue.

But what about that objection, that it might cost us something?

  1. Until we take the first step, we do not know what it will cost. We don’t even know what our carbon footprint is. We need to find that out, and that exercise will cost us next to nothing. But until we take the first step, it is impossible to say what the cost will be.
  2. We are an economically strong, healthy city. Around 2.7% unemployment. A low tax rate. We have a strong and growing net position. If there ever was a time to do something bold, something consequential, something that will benefit future generations, it is now.
  3. Doing nothing brings its own cost. If we do nothing, the cost of climate change to the American economy will be measured in the hundreds of billions of dollars. The cost to human health will be measured in respiratory diseases, insect borne diseases, and deaths due to increasingly extreme and frequent natural disasters. These are only a few examples. We can’t afford to keep our head in the sand and do nothing.
  4. Nothing worth doing is guaranteed to be easy. But the benefits to our economy, our quality of life, and our children’s and grandchildren’s future will far outweigh the effort.

I started laying out this plan with JFK’s quote from his Houston speech in which he challenged us to put a man on the moon. I want to close with another quote, from his speech on world peace and the threat of nuclear warfare:

Our problems are manmade–therefore, they can be solved by man.
No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable–and we believe they can do it again.
For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future.