Critics argue goals are too ambitious or costly. But climate inaction comes at an even greater price

This editorial is the opinion of Morgan Hill Life

With the new year, let’s take action to save our planet for the sake of our children. Santa Clara County has taken a bold and ambitious step in the fight against climate change. In late September, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution to achieve carbon neutrality in county operations by 2030 — a full 15 years ahead of its previous 2045 goal.

This accelerated timeline represents the urgency of climate action needed in this decisive decade. As extreme weather events become more common and deadly, and communities face rising seas, Santa Clara County recognizes its moral duty to drastically curb emissions and become carbon neutral by this ambitious goal date.

Achieving this vision will require diligent effort across county facilities, vehicles, waste streams, and employee commutes. It necessitates major investments to electrify buildings, transition fleets, boost recycling, and tap into the carbon sequestration potential of county parklands. But the payoffs will be immense — cleaner air, taxpayer savings, climate resilience, and a model for other local governments to follow.

As one of the largest and most influential local governments in California, Santa Clara County is positioned to lead the way on urgent climate action. Its aggressive timeline and comprehensive roadmap provide a model that other counties can adapt and follow. As Santa Clara County invests in electrification, alternative fuels, recycling, and carbon sequestration, it will demonstrate feasibility and best practices.

Its progress and lessons learned can guide peer counties embarking on similar journeys to carbon neutrality. Santa Clara County’s regional power and technical expertise also allows it to advocate for supportive legislation, funding, and partnerships at the state level. In short, Santa Clara County’s bold initiative lays a trail for other counties to march to bolder climate commitments. It also elevates the profile and priority of local climate leadership in Sacramento and beyond.

Critics may argue the goals are too ambitious or costly. But climate inaction comes at an even greater price. Santa Clara County is wisely choosing to invest now to secure a livable future, rather than pay far more down the line in lives, property and environmental damages.

Santa Clara County would face devastating economic consequences if real action isn’t taken to address global warming. As a coastal county, it is vulnerable to sea level rise and flooding that could cripple infrastructure, homes and businesses near the bay. Prolonged droughts could stunt the massive agriculture industry in the county.

Heat waves may discourage the tourism that fuels sectors like restaurants and hotels. Wildfires sparked by hotter, drier conditions could destroy property and lives, draining emergency resources. Climate migration from other impacted regions could stress housing and services. In effect, failing to curb emissions threatens Santa Clara County’s economic vitality and competitiveness. Ambitious climate action is imperative to maintain quality of life, prosperity and opportunity in the decades ahead.

Other cities and counties should feel emboldened to follow Santa Clara’s lead. Climate change is a global crisis demanding local leadership. Santa Clara County’s pledge proves we can rise to meet this epochal challenge with wisdom and conviction. We cannot claim to care about future generations while condemning them to a world of wildfires, storms and scarcity. The time to act is now.

For communities like Morgan Hill and Gilroy, this commitment means local action and involvement will be needed to reduce emissions and environmental impact. Residents should prepare for changes like more EV charging stations, city fleet electrification, and new waste and recycling programs. It’s a call for all of us to do our part for the planet and our children’s future.

We have a profound moral duty to take forceful climate action now to leave a livable world for our children and grandchildren. The decisions we make today will reverberate for generations to come. If we fail to rapidly transition from fossil fuels, future generations will inherit a planet of rising seas, destructive storms, polluted air, food insecurity, and unchecked suffering.

We cannot claim to care about our descendants while handing them ecological catastrophe. Justice and conscience demand we act with urgency to protect the young people who will inherit this earth. Ambitious goals like Santa Clara County’s carbon neutrality pledge represent the obligations of ethical stewardship across generations. By leading the charge today, we can preserve hope for those who follow.

Santa Clara County understands this truth. Its commitment should resonate across California and the nation as a call to conscience and action. Our children’s future hangs in the balance.