The town joined the International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives, or ICLEI -- which is making a countywide push to get cities to sign on, following in the footsteps of Alameda County, where a number of jurisdictions joined last year. Mayor Mike Metcalf abstained.
The council voted 3-2 Wednesday to endorse the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement supporting the tenets of the Kyoto Protocol. Metcalf and Councilwoman Rochelle Bird voted against the endorsement.
"It's everywhere, it's all around us, and it's time that we got involved," said Vice Mayor Lynda Deschambault.
ICLEI will help Moraga measure its "carbon footprint," then come up with a plan for reducing pollution, and also serve as a resource for any green programs the town may want to implement.
Environmental advocate Marie Kahn urged the council to sign on, especially since with the town located so far off the beaten path, "I think that we have a rather significant carbon footprint because of our dependence on cars."
Matthew Waxman, a Campolindo High School graduate who now works at the school, said as a young person he was excited to see the town taking a step like this.
"It means a lot for the future," he said.
But the decision wasn't without debate.
Metcalf said he didn't believe many of the assertions in the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. He said he has read up on the issue -- including looking it up on the online dictionary Wikipedia -- and doesn't believe people who claim there is no serious dissent within the scientific community.
"I've always been fascinated by the willingness of people to believe just about anything that's said," he said.
Metcalf pointed out that in 2004, the town council declined to approve the countywide growth management plan called "Shaping Our Future" because they were already complying with the principles, but didn't want to formalize it.
Metcalf said he had similar feelings about joining ICLEI and endorsing the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.
"Why can't we just do things rather than make a lot of hot air about it?" Metcalf asked.
The council agreed to change language in the resolution to join ICLEI to say that energy consumption accounts for a "significant portion" of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, rather than 80 percent -- which Metcalf said he is "not so sure there is a scientific basis" for.
The council also changed the language of the endorsement of the Climate Protection Agreement that said climate disruption "will cause" problems like increased risk of floods and droughts, to "may cause."
Albany, Berkeley, Oakland, El Cerrito, Richmond, Pleasanton and Dublin are among the nearly 500 cities that have endorsed the agreement.
"I think it is appropriate to sent that political message, even from little old Moraga," said Councilman Dave Trotter.
Reach Brooke Bryant at 943-8042 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read the global warming resolutions in the agenda section of the town's Web site, http://www.moraga.ca.us.