Clallam County commissioners discuss process for climate change talks

PORT ANGELES — The Clallam County commissioners are getting closer to engaging the county in a week-long conversation about climate change.

Commissioners discussed how to approach “Clallam County Climate Change Week” during its Monday work session.

Commissioner Mark Ozias said it makes sense that Climate Change Week should be held the week of Earth Day, which is April 22, but no dates have actually been set.

“The outcome I’m interested in, at least for our own use, would be what sort of policy, if any, would our citizens like to see us develop in and around climate change,” Ozias said.

It’s an issue the commissioners unanimously agreed in June needed more attention.

At the time they passed a resolution authorizing the county to take action on climate change.

Ozias has suggested that the week involve meeting with groups that are affected by climate change.

It was previously suggested the county meet with the Quileute Tribal Council to learn about how climate change affects tribal fisheries and could visit the Olympic Natural Resource Center in Forks for a presentation about the effect of climate change on the forest products industry in Clallam County.

It was also suggested to have a presentations on how the annual smoke from summer forest fires affects Clallam County residents, and tours of the site of the future Dungeness Off-Channel Reservoir and the recently-flooded area along 3 Crabs Road near Sequim.

Ozias said he likes the idea of the county hosting “Jefferson Dinners,” an idea he said Commissioner Bill Peach pitched.

It involves parties from diverse backgrounds sitting at one table and discussing a topic.

“I really like the Jefferson Dinner concept,” Ozias said.

Ozias had suggested a format called “Rural Climate Dialogues,” which some rural communities have implemented as they discuss climate change.

“As we think about doing our cross-county tour, I think it will be important to have those events at places that can accommodate the public,” Ozias said.

Ozias said he would like to see the week start off with presentations and joint meetings across the county.

“I’ve imagined that would help generate some publicity in the community, then we could follow up with a series of Jefferson Dinners, one in each district,” Ozias said.

Commissioner Randy Johnson said he hopes the tour will help commissioners develop priorities as to how it should spend the county’s limited money.

The county also prepared a report detailing efforts it has made since 2007.

In 2007 the county recommended that it initiate its own Climate Protection Campaign to promote environmentally sensitive and proactive measures.

That year, commissioners passed a resolution adopting an emissions reduction target of 80 percent by 2050.

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].

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