City of Savannah candidates talk climate change, clean energy at forum

Our Changing Climate

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Climate change was the focus of a candidate forum Tuesday evening held at Unitarian Universalist Church. 

Sixteen candidates running for mayor and city council attended the forum, which was free and open to members of the public.

Candidates were all asked to answer one question: Should the City of Savannah pass a resolution to transition to 100-percent clean energy by 2030?

The majority of candidates appeared to agree for the most part that taking steps to mitigate the impacts of climate change locally was an issue that they would and could support.

Various candidates touched on climate change and clean energy-related areas of improvement that they felt could benefit the City of Savannah, including making the city more bike-friendly, cutting back on the elimination of the city’s green space and dealing with river pollution.

“More of them came educated with an answer about how they were planning on moving forward,” said Cami Sockow, an attendee of Tuesday’s forum who was one of the organizers for the League of Women Voters Forum held on Oct. 3. 

“You could tell who would support it, who wouldn’t support it and then there were some that couldn’t really answer the question,” Sockow told News 3. 

“I was glad to hear that all the officials and all the people here are taking this issue seriously,” said Phil Grainey, who also attended the event.

“We really want to be 100-percent sustainable by the year 2030.” 

Some candidates felt that there has been a lot of talk about the issue of climate change, but not enough action.

Others noted that while it sounds like a great idea to support the resolution, officials would have to think of ways to fund these potential changes.

Karen Grainey, assistant director for the Center for a Sustainable Coast, told News 3 she hoped the forum would get more people thinking about climate change and the steps that can be taken locally to make an impact. 

“Hopefully, the new city council in the upcoming new year will be prepared to take this issue seriously,” Grainey said.

“That’s really what we want.” 

Climate Reality Project of Coastal Georgia, the Center for a Sustainable Coast, Dogwood Alliance, Citizens for Clean Air and Water and the Unitarian Universalist Church Green Team came together to host the event. 

An online petition in support of 100-percent clean energy for Savannah by 2030 has garnered at least 300 signatures so far, Grainey said.

The petition is available here.

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