Many participate in the Sonoma County Climate Protection Campaign - local elected officials, County and city staff, teachers, students, business people, activists, and regular concerned citizens.
Brant Arthur · Implementation Manager Transportation
Brant manages the implementation of the transportation and solid waste components of Sonoma County's Community Climate Action Plan. He recently completed a Master's Degree in Development Practice focusing on engaging local governments and climate change. He implemented sustainability programs for non-profits in Boston, worked with students to fund solar projects in Western China, and organized stakeholders to halt urban sprawl in Brisbane, Australia.
Chris Cone · Implementation Manager
Chris Cone is an Implementation Manager for the Climate Protection Campaign overseeing the implementation of energy efficiency strategies identified in the Community Climate Action Plan (www.coolplan.org). Chris is the CPC liaison to the Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority (RCPA) and is assisting with the development and launch of the RCPA's new Countywide Retrofit/Renewables Program (http://www.sctainfo.org/rcpa.htm). Chris was the technical editor for the CPC's Community Climate Action Plan and is currently working with Solar Sonoma County (www.solarsonomacounty.org) to develop its Solar Implementation Plan. She is a founding member of the Thousand Home Challenge NorCal Collaborative, which is developing guidelines for deep energy reductions in residences, and is a certified Home Energy Rating System rater.
Ann Hancock · Executive Director and Co-Founder
Ann co-founded the Climate Protection Campaign in 2001. With over 25 years in community leadership, education, and fundraising, she has been a sustainability planner for the County of Marin, commentator for TomPaine.com, human sexuality instructor at Humboldt State University, and real estate broker. She has a Masters in Public Health Administration and Planning, UCB.
Lora Neffson · Executive Assistant
Lora has nearly 14 years of community-based, human services experience in office administration and direct services. She has a BA in Sociology, has been a resident of Sonoma County for 20 years, and is a passionate advocate for reducing greenhouse gases.
Barry Vesser · Deputy Director
Barry began working with the Campaign in 2005. Prior to this, Barry directed a nonprofit in the Sierras and built the organization from total resources of less than $8000 to in excess of $2,103,000 in less than seven years. He also worked as director of a nonprofit promoting organic agriculture in Nepal and as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines. He has an M.A. in International Public Administration.
Raphael Aguilera · Legislative Specialist
The Campaign hired Rafael Aguilera of the Verde Group to work on ensuring a positive outcome for AB32's implementation process in Sacramento. Aguilera served as a Latino Caucus Intern for Assembly Majority Floor Leader Marco Antonio Firebaugh, an environmental consultant for Assemblymember Lori Saldana, and a climate policy analyst for Environmental Defense. Rafael was a key member of the legislative team that passed AB 32 in 2006.
Dave Erickson · Technical Consultant
Dave spent 25 years as a software and systems engineer, working primarily in startup companies. In 2001 he returned to school and received a degree in Energy Management and Design from SSU. Dave worked for the Campaign from 2003 to 2009 as Technical Director and was instrumental in developing the Community Climate Action Plan for Sonoma County. He now serves as a part time consultant.
This Plan is, in essence, a public works project to meet Sonoma County’s bold goal for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emission
This Plan is the product of considerable input from a team of consultants, experts, community representatives, and a skilled Steering Committee.
Three staff members at the Climate Protection Campaign deserve special recognition for their leadership in guiding the Plan to completion:
Dave Erickson, Technical Director, is the project “brain” who reviewed all of the technical documents, evaluated how they fit together, and assessed their contributions to the target. The Plan’s comprehensiveness is the direct result of Dave’s commitment, intelligence and integrity. Alden Feldon, former Project Manager (now working with Local Governments for Sustainability), shepherded the input from fifty community representatives, and served as ad hoc editor and strategist as the Plan was undergoing most of its primary development. Ann Hancock, Executive Director, held the editorial pieces together, massaged the technical details into an effective communication tool, and deftly served as the organizing hub for the many complex components of the Plan. We would also like to thank the following for their financial support of the rollout and implementation of the Plan:
“It makes economic sense and it’s the right thing to do!” — Mike Kerns, Chair, County of Sonoma Board of Supervisors
“Maybe this whole issue will save our economy.” — Tim Smith, Supervisor, Third District, County of Sonoma
“This is change that can’t happen fast enough.” — Terrance Davis, retired Community Bank President, business leader, father and grandfather.
“This Plan provides all of us who want to make these efforts a priority in our businesses and gives a roadmap to make changes.” — Lisa Wittke Schaffner, Executive Director, Sonoma County Alliance
“I don’t suppose anyone would imagine that meeting the scientific imperative would be anything less than staggering.” — Sam Pierce, Principal Engineer, Tellus Applied Sciences and former Mayor of Sebastopol
“With the global climate crisis facing us, let’s not repeat the inaction leading up to our current fiscal crisis.” — Susan Moore, Community Activist
The Greenhouse Effect The climate we enjoy on earth is made possible due to a delicate balance of naturally occurring gases that trap some of the sun’s heat near the earth’s surface. This naturally-caused greenhouse effect is what keeps the earth’s temperature stable at an average of approximately 60°F—warm enough to support life as we know it . Without this natural greenhouse effect, our planet’s average temperature would be about 14°F and uninhabitable.
Global Warming: The Enhanced Greenhouse Effect
The problem we now face is that human actions have disturbed this natural balance by producing large amounts of some of these greenhouse gases (GHGs). The two greenhouse gases of most concern to local governments are carbon dioxide, or CO2, and methane.
Emissions of CO2 are produced whenever fossil fuels—such as oil, natural gas, gasoline, diesel fuel, and coal—are burned to produce electricity, heat buildings or power vehicles. Through daily energy- using activities, we are increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and magnifying the natural greenhouse effect. The net effect of this increased atmospheric concentration of CO2 and other GHGs is to trap more of the sun’s heat, causing the earth’s average temperature to rise—the phenomenon is known as global warming.
Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas resulting from human activities. Methane, or CH4, is a byproduct of organic waste and sewage decomposition. In urban areas, methane gas is produced as organic waste such as paper, yard trimmings, wood, and food waste decompose in landfills. Sewage treatment plants are also a significant urban source of methane. In terms of its greenhouse effect, methane is 21 times more powerful per unit than CO2.
Scientists around the world have studied and verified the increase in atmospheric changes and are in wide agreement that global warming is occurring and will have serious consequences for the entire planet. Research by an international panel of scientists has found that the average earth surface temperature has risen more than 1°F over the last 100 years. This temperature rise correlates with the increase in CO2 concentrations that has occurred in the past 150 years since the Industrial Revolution. Global changes in energy requirements due to industrialization and population increases, along with the dominant reliance on fossil fuels for that energy has increased the concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere by about 30%. Scientists predict that if atmospheric CO2 doubles from pre-industrial levels, average earth temperatures will rise by 2.3 to 7.2°F. According to a range of possible scenarios, this doubling of atmospheric CO2 could occur as early as 2050.
Why the Term Climate Change?
Since 1988, an international panel involving thousands of scientists from all over the world has led a comprehensive scientific assessment of these atmospheric changes, their potential impacts, and appropriate policy responses. This International Panel on Climate Change (also known as the IPCC) was jointly established by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program. The work of these scientists is the largest and most comprehensive scientific effort on global warming undertaken to date.
Although the increase in greenhouse gases is causing an overall warming of the planet, scientists involved in the IPCC prefer the to use the concept of “climate change” to describe the consequences of this phenomenon, see pleine-lune.org/jardiner-avec-la-lune.
The reason scientists feel that climate change is a more accurate term is that the increased levels of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere are causing climatic changes that vary across the planet, both from place to place and season to season. Even the slightest increase in average global temperature can cause major changes in climate patterns, resulting in more frequent and extreme weather events. Globally, while some regions may experience warming, other regions may become colder. Precipitation may increase in some regions, causing floods and mudslides, while decreasing in other regions, causing droughts water shortages.
Here in the U.S., we are already feeling climatic effects of more frequent and extreme weather events, mirroring the models developed by scientists. The period between 1995 and 1998 saw a record of 33 hurricanes. The recent Hurricane Floyd alone damaged 30,000 homes, killed 40 people and caused an estimated $1.3 billion in damages in North Carolina. Rain and snowfall have increased by 5% to 10% in the past 100 years—much of this increase being in the form of more frequent and intense downpours such as the heavy rainstorms in Ohio, Tennessee, and Mississippi that destroyed bridges and roads, and left hundreds of thousands of people without drinking water in 1997. For many areas in the U.S., droughts in 1998 were among the worst ever and 1999 had the driest growing season since the dust bowl. In 1999, parts of the country experienced persistent summer heatwaves, killing 257 Americans and thousands of cattle in July alone.
What is science telling us? Mounting climate science evidence shows that our atmosphere is dangerously out of balance and the climate we depend on for our food, water and health is changing rapidly. Studies published since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its comprehensive report in 2007 point ever more compellingly to the urgent need for swift, deep reductions of heat-trapping gasses to avoid catastrophic climate change. United States leadership is essential, and there is no time to waste.
Climate Change is already having real impacts:
Temperatures this decade have been higher than any other decade on record, and one degree (F) higher than average temperatures in the 20th century. Ocean temperatures worldwide this summer were hotter than ever previously recorded. Sea ice extent in the Arctic melted to its third-lowest recorded levels this summer, declining more than 60 percent since the 1980s and 1990s. Sea levels are projected to rise faster than we thought the last time the IPCC weighed in. Without emissions reductions, a 2.6 foot rise is likely by the end of the century and a 6.6 foot rise is possible. Science indicates an even stronger need to act than previously thought:
Globally, an estimated 8.7 billion tons of carbon were emitted in 2008 from burning coal, oil and natural gas, more than a 40 percent increase from 1990. The ocean's ability to absorb carbon dioxide is declining as it heats up and becomes more acidic. In 1959, the ocean absorbed 60 percent of the extra CO2 we put in the atmosphere. In 2008, it only absorbed 55 percent. Studies indicate that the Earth will take a long time -- at least a thousand years -- to come back into balance and recover from the excess CO2 we are putting into the atmosphere. Every day of delay locks in more warming for ourselves and future generations.
Responding to skeptics: Given the preponderance of scientific evidence, it is hard to believe that there are still climate change deniers out there, but there are. For an excellent, well-researched article responding to some of the skeptics common charges and misperceptions see "Seven Answers to Climate Contrarian Nonsense" by the former Chief Editor of Scientific American. This is a great piece to use the next time you visit your skeptical relative in Ohio, Wyoming or Alabama.
Thanks to Union of Concerned Scientists for much of the information on this page.
Atmosphere—The gaseous envelope surrounding a planet. The Earth’s atmosphere consists of nitrogen (79.1% by volume), oxygen (20.9% by volume), with about 0.03% carbon dioxide, and traces of argon, krypton, xenon, neon, and helium, plus water vapor, traces of ammonia, organic matter, ozone, various salts, and suspended solid particles.
Base Year—The year for which the CCP member conducts their baseline emissions analysis. We recommend that 1990 be used, or the year closest to 1990 for which the most complete data can be obtained. Biomass—Technically, the total dry organic matter or stored energy content of living organisms in a given area. Biomass refers to forms of living matter (e.g. grasses, trees) or their derivatives (e.g., ethanol, timber, charcoal) that can be used as fuels.
Carbon Cycle—General term used in reference to the sum of all reservoirs and flows of carbon on Earth. The flows tend to be cyclic in nature e.g. carbon removed from the atmosphere (one reservoir) and converted into plant tissue (another reservoir) is returned back into the atmosphere when the plant is burned or decomposes. Carbon Sink or Reservoir—Within the carbon cycle, this is the physical site at which carbon is stored (e.g. atmosphere, oceans, Earth’s vegetation and soils, and fossil fuel deposits).
Carbon Dioxide—Carbon dioxide or CO2, essential to living systems, is released by animal respiration, decay of organic matter and fossil fuel burning. It is removed from the atmosphere by photosynthesis in green plants. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by about 25% since the burning of coal and oil began on a large scale. Atmospheric carbon dioxide varies by a small amount with the seasons, and the ocean contains many times the amount of the gas that is in the atmosphere.
Carbon Dioxide Concentration—The atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, at 353 parts per million volume (ppmv) in 1990, is now about 25% greater than the pre-industrial (1750-1800) value of about 280 ppmv, and higher than at any time in at least the last 160,000 years. Carbon dioxide is currently rising at about 1.8 ppmv (0.5%) per year due to human-caused emissions and currently accounts for approximately 84% of U.S. GHG emissions.
Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)—Compounds of carbon that contain some chlorine and some fluorine. CFCs do not occur naturally; they are synthetic products used in various industrial processes and also as propellant gas for sprays. CFCs are typically used in refrigerants, solvents, foam-makers and for use in aerosol sprays. CFCs are significant contributors to ozone depletion and also contribute to global warming.
Cities for Climate Protection Toolkit—ICLEI’s publication for the CCP containing a series of sections that help local government staff develop each portion of their Local Action Plan, along with a compendium of sample practices, case studies, and other tools.
Climate—The average weather together with its variability of representations of the weather conditions for a specified area during a specified time interval (usually decades or longer). Cogeneration—The simultaneous generation and use of both electric power and heat; the heat, instead of being discharged without further use, is used in some fashion.
Corporate Average Fuel Economy—The Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards were originally established by Congress for new automobiles, and later for light trucks, in Title V of the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act (15 U.S.C. 1901, et. seq.) with subsequent amendments. Under CAFE, automobile manufacturers are required by law to produce vehicle fleets with a composite sales-weighted fuel efficiency which cannot be lower than the CAFE standards in a given year. Standardized tests are used to rate the fuel economy of new vehicles. In 2000, CAFE standards are 27.5 mpg for cars and 20.7 mpg for light trucks.
Conference of the Parties (COP)—The COP comprises all the nations that have ratified or acceded to the UNFCCC or United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (over 175 by May 1999). It held its first meeting (COP-1) in Berlin in 1995 and will continue to meet on a yearly basis unless the Parties decide otherwise. The COP’s role is to promote and review the implementation of the Convention. It will periodically review existing commitments in light of the Convention’s objective, new scientific findings, and the effectiveness of national climate change programs. The COP can adopt new commitments through amendments and protocols to the Convention; in December 1997 it adopted the Kyoto Protocol containing stronger emissions-related commitments for developed countries in the post-2000 period. ICLEI often coordinates the participation of local government officials at COP meetings.
Criteria Air Pollutants—The term criteria air pollutants refers to pollutants that are regulated under the U.S. Clean Air Act. As with carbon dioxide, the major sources of these pollutants are fossil fuels. Most measures that reduce carbon dioxide emissions also reduce criteria air pollutants. (In the CCP Software, both the Community and Corporate Measures modules include a pre-formatted Co-Benefits report with an estimate of the criteria air pollutant reductions associated with the GHG measures quantified. Air pollutants covered by the co-benefits report include nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur oxides (SOx), and particulate matter smaller than ten microns in diameter (PM-10). (Note that CO2 is not a criteria air pollutant.)
Equivalent CO2 (eCO2)—“Equivalent CO2” (eCO2), also known as Global Warming Potential weighted greenhouse gas emissions (GWP), is a unit, that allows emissions of greenhouse gases of different strengths to be added together. For carbon dioxide itself, emissions in tons of CO2 and tons of eCO2 are the same thing, whereas for methane, an example of a stronger greenhouse gas, one ton of methane emissions has the same GWP as 21 tons of CO2. Thus 1 ton of methane emissions can be expressed as 21 tons eCO2.
Emissions Analysis—The first milestone accomplished by CCP participants, it includes both base year inventories and forecasts of CO2 and methane emissions growth for municipal operations and the community as a whole.
Ethanol Blend (E85)—Ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, is an alternative fuel that as of 1996 was available as a blend with regular gasoline.
Global Warming—The recent trend of increasing world-surface and tropospheric temperatures that scientists believe is caused by increased emissions of human-induced greenhouse gases. The greenhouse gases (CO2, methane, nitrous oxides and CFCs) are emitted into the atmosphere and increase the atmosphere’s “entrapment” of heat.
Global Warming Potential (GWP)—A concept developed by the IPCC that provides a comparative measure of the impacts of different greenhouse gases on global warming, with the effect of carbon dioxide being equal to 1. See also equivalent CO2 (eCO2).
Greenhouse Gases and the Greenhouse Effect—The Earth’s climate is determined by a delicate balance between the solar energy that arrives from space and the heat energy that the earth creates from the sun’s rays. The energy that arrives from space should always equal the energy that the earth emits back to space. When something disturbs this balance, our climate adjusts by cooling or warming the earth to return things to normal. A portion of outgoing heat energy is absorbed in the atmosphere by greenhouse gases such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. If these trace gases were not present, the average temperature on the earth’s surface would be -32 degrees Fahrenheit, and life as we know it would not have evolved here. But the natural greenhouse effect keeps the average global surface temperature at a comfortable 59 degrees Fahrenheit. Human activities are currently emitting the equivalent of 8.3 billion tons of carbon annually in the form of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. About 60% of this carbon is reabsorbed by trees, plants, and the ocean. But the remaining 40% increases the atmospheric level of greenhouse gases and magnifies the natural greenhouse effect, leading to global warming.
The concentration of the most important greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, has already increased by 25% since the beginning of industrialization. This increase is the result of an increased reliance on fossil fuels and deforestation, which has caused an imbalance between the absorption and release of carbon dioxide by vegetation. Other greenhouse gases, also found in the atmosphere in increasing amounts, are methane, nitrous oxide and the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
IPCC—Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was jointly established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program to:
assess available scientific information on climate change, assess the environmental and socio-economic impacts of climate change, and formulate response strategies. It has emerged as the predominant international forum for the development of scientific knowledge and policy advice on matters related to climate change. Its periodic Assessment Reports are relied upon by governments to guide policy making on this issue. In its 1995 Technical Report, the IPCC stated that global warming is happening and is at least in part due to human activities.
Kyoto Protocol—Adopted by consensus at the third session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-3) in December 1997 in Kyoto, Japan. When ratified by a certain % of participating countries, it contains legally binding emissions targets for developed countries in the post-2000 period. By arresting and reversing the upward trend in greenhouse gas emissions that started in these countries 150 years ago, the Protocol promises to move the international community one step closer to achieving the Convention’s ultimate objective of preventing “dangerous anthropogenic human-induced interference with the climate system”.
In the Protocol, developed countries commit themselves to reducing their collective emissions of six key greenhouse gases by at least 5%. This group target will be achieved through cuts of 8% by Switzerland, most Central and East European states, and the European Union (the EU will meet its target by distributing different rates among its member states); 7% by the US; and 6% by Canada, Hungary, Japan, and Poland. Russia, New Zealand, and Ukraine are to stabilize their emissions, while Norway may increase emissions by up to 1%, Australia by up to 8%, and Iceland 10%. The six gases are to be combined in a “basket”, with reductions in individual gases translated into “CO2 equivalents” that are then added up to produce a single figure. As of 1999, the Kyoto Protocol had not yet been ratified by the required number of countries. Local Action Plan—Milestone 3 of the CCP, this is the Plan that describes the actions a local government will take to reduce its GHG emissions. The Local Action Plan also includes the Emissions Analysis, Emissions Reduction Target and an implementation strategy.
Methane—Methane or CH4, which accounts for about 9% of U.S. eCO2 or GWP weighted GHG emissions, is produced by anaerobic decomposition of solid waste in landfills and sewage treatment facilities, wetlands and rice paddies, as a byproduct of fossil fuel energy production and transport and also from out gassing in livestock. It is also the principle constituent of natural gas and can leak from natural gas production and distribution systems and is emitted in the process of coal production. The methane concentration in the atmosphere has been rising steadily for several centuries, keeping pace with the increase in the world population and expansion of the world economy.
Nitrous Oxide—Nitrous oxide or N20 (not to be confused with nitrogen oxides or NOx) is a potent greenhouse gas accounting for about 5% of U.S. eCO2 emissions. Main sources for this GHG is nitrogen fertilization of agricultural soils, agricultural run-off and also from motor vehicles equipped with catalytic converters.
Ozone—An ozone molecule consists of three atoms of oxygen. In contrast, the normal oxygen in the atmosphere exists as a molecule with two atoms of oxygen. Ozone is much more reactive than oxygen and is toxic to human beings and living matter. At ground level it forms smog and causes damage to forests and humans. (In the stratosphere, it functions mainly as a filter for ultra-violet radiation and to a lesser extent as a greenhouse gas.) Ground level ozone formation is closely connected to climate change since the sources of emissions that cause it such as motor vehicle use, are also global warming pollutants. Additionally the formation of ground level ozone requires not only pollutants but also heat and sunlight—As regions get hotter due to global warming, ozone smog increases.
Stratosphere—Layer of the atmosphere above the troposphere extending to a height of ~ 50 km. Troposphere—Lowest layer of the atmosphere where almost all weather phenomena develop.
UNFCCC—The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the foundation of global efforts to combat global warming. Opened for signature at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, its ultimate objective is the “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic [human-induced] interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a timeframe sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.” See also Conference of Parties.
Urban CO2 Reduction Project—A pre-cursor to the Cities for Climate Protection Campaign, this project involved local governments from U.S., Europe and Canada including—Portland, OR, San Jose, CA, Denver, CO, Saint Paul and Minneapolis, MN, Miami-Dade County, FL and Chula Vista, CA.
Improving Efficiency in Government Operations
Trees Make a Difference
Swiss Re to Become Climate-Neutral Company
ZURICH, Nov. 3, 2003 - Swiss Re has announced that it plans to become a greenhouse neutral company. Swiss Re will initiate a ten-year program combining internal emissions reduction measures with an investment in the World Bank Community Development Carbon Fund. The voluntary initiative makes Swiss Re the largest global financial services company to set itself the goal to become greenhouse neutral. All Swiss Re locations will participate in the initiative. The program will utilize the same methodology as Swiss Re offers to clients through its "Greenhouse Neutral" package in partnership with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
Every Swiss Re employee emits an average of 5 to 6 metric tons (Mt) of CO2 per year, with total corporate emissions from all approximately 8 500 employees based at 70 offices in 30 countries adding up to approximately 47,000 tons of CO2 per annum. Swiss Re's CO2 emissions are split between electricity use (44%), combustion of heating fuels (13%) and business travel (43%). To become greenhouse neutral, Swiss Re will reduce its own emissions by 15% over the next ten years, the remainder will be offset by investing in the World Bank Community Development Carbon Fund (CDCF) which supports projects to improve the environment and livelihoods of local communities. Through this investment, Swiss Re expects to offset a minimum of 37 000 tons of CO2 per annum in the form of so-called emission reduction units (ERUs).
John Coomber, Chief Executive Officer of Swiss Re comments: "Swiss Re is fully aware of the great challenges arising from global climate change. We not only seek to be at the forefront of creating and working on developing a marketplace for sustainable assets through our Greenhouse Gas Risk Solutions team, but clearly believe that we should operate and manage our own operations according to the highest sustainability criteria. That is the reason why we have implemented this program."
Chris Walker, who heads Swiss Re's Greenhouse Gas Risk Solutions team says: "Becoming greenhouse neutral is a big step for every company. Adhering to the newest standards in emission reduction and finding commercial solutions to conserving the environment are a clear priority for Swiss Re. With our long tradition in risk expertise, I am convinced that Swiss Re can play a much needed facilitation role in assisting companies with their carbon management". Through its risk assessment, mitigation and transfer know-how, Swiss Re already today offers commercial solutions to enable companies to voluntarily offset their emissions footprint.
"With its participation in the World Bank fund, Swiss Re joins a committed group of governments and companies who see a triple win in the CDCF: greenhouse gas emission reductions, poverty reduction and corporate social responsibility", says Ken Newcombe, Senior Manager, Carbon Finance, The World Bank.
Swiss Re's greenhouse neutral plan was announced at the "Beyond carbon - emerging markets for ecosystems services" conference, co-sponsored by The Katoomba Group (29-30 October 2003), at the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue in Rüschlikon, which brought together representatives from the business, financial, governmental and NGO communities. Part of the objective of the conference was to analyze how different industries are exposed to carbon, water and biodiversity risks. It also highlighted the need for companies to take immediate action to review their current operational strategies in preparation for international regulation. Twin Cities' Success with Emissions Reduction Programs Minneapolis and Saint Paul became partners in the ICLEI campaign in 1993, pledging to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions 20% from 1988 levels by 2005. They identified six strategies to help them meet their goal: improve energy efficiency in municipal buildings, reduce emissions from transportation, expand urban reforestation, improve energy efficiency in the residential, commercial and private sectors, improve the efficiency of energy production and promote the use of renewable sources of energy, and promote recycling and source reduction programs. The results? Their building retrofits save $113 million annually in energy costs and have reduced their CO2 emissions by about 18,000 tons annually. Saint Paul's recycling program reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 59,000 tons in 1997. It is estimated that the 7,200 trees planted as part of the urban reforestation program will absorb 120 tons of CO2 a year by 2010. Residential insulation programs in both cities have served 25,000 homes since the program began, and homeowners are seeing significant decreases in their utility costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Source
Toronto Atmospheric Fund In 1990, Toronto pledged to reduce its current CO2 emissions levels 20% by 2005. In order to achieve this goal, the city established an Energy Efficiency Office and raised $23 million to establish the Toronto Atmospheric Fund to provide loans and 50:50 grants for a variety of CO2-reducing initiatives. In 1992, the city used a $14 million loan from the fund to convert the street lighting to more efficient bulbs. The city is seeing savings of $2 million a year in electricity bills, as well as the reduced CO2 emissions that go along with energy efficiency. The fund also loaned $2 million to the Better Buildings Partnership to perform energy efficiency retrofits that will save local businesses $3 million a year and reduce CO2 emissions by 40,000 tons a year. Related Link: Toronto Atmosphere Fund Source: Stormy Weather p. 97
Australian Councils Reach Beyond Milestone Five Most cities do very well to complete all five milestones laid out by ICLEI's Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) ®. For those cities that want to go beyond, there is CCP Plus - a program that assists councils in further reducing their GHG emissions. The first element of this program focuses on transportation. In Australia, 16 councils are part of CCP Plus. Source: Initiatives, an ICLEI newsletter, December 2002
Improving Efficiency in Government Operations Investing in Efficient Lighting Pays Off In Newcastle, Australia, the local government discovered that the City Hall's Function Center was costing $105,000 annually in electricity. This is because they lit the building with 380 100-watt incandescent bulbs that were only 3% efficient, releasing 97% of their energy as heat. In a two-year period, the city invested just $20,000 to switch to 18-watt compact fluorescent bulbs, reducing the energy consumption of the Function Center by 80%. This in turn reduced CO2 emissions by 100 tons. With the energy saved, the new bulbs paid for themselves within 2-3 years. The city has since set up the Newcastle Green Energy Project with a revolving loan fund to finance other energy saving programs. Source: Stormy Weather p. 99
Green Buildings in San Francisco In 1999, San Francisco passed a Resource Efficiency Building Ordinance that mandated green design practices for all future and existing buildings owned or leased by the city. The ordinance included toxics reduction, the use of recycled-content building materials, improved air quality, energy and water efficiency, construction and demolition waste diversion, and building commissioning. Employees on the city's design staff now have mandated training and a Resource Efficient Task Force has been created to shape the process. Source: Stormy Weather p. 98
Denver's Green Fleet In 1993, the City of Denver began a Green Fleet Program to improve the efficiency of city-owned vehicles. The program mandated a reduction in the size of the fleet, a 1% annual reduction in fuel expenditures and a 1.5% annual reduction in CO2 emissions. Their strategy was to exchange full-sized sedans for more efficient compacts or mid-sized sedans. They also made fuel efficiency one of the purchasing bid specifications. The program is really paying off: by 2005, the city will be saving $106,000 annually, and will have reduced its CO2 emissions by 22%, even though they've seen an overall 19% increase in total miles traveled by city employees. Source: Stormy Weather p. 98
Trees for Tucson In Tucson, Arizona, members of a local environmental group called Trees for Tucson have set their sights high. They seek to plant 500,000 trees in the city by working with residents, schools and neighborhood organizations. Once in place, each tree will save 27 kWh annually through cooling and evapo-transpiration, and 61 kWh with direct shading. That's a whopping forty four million kWh saved city wide every year! Source: Stormy Weather p. 105
Alternate Method Incentives
In California, some businesses pay their employees a monthly travel allowance instead of providing free parking. Employees have the option to either pay for parking while at work, or find alternate means of transportation and pocket the allowance. This practice has yielded win-win results: typically, 10-30% of employees chose to walk, ride their bikes, carpool, telecommute or use mass transit. Some employees have even moved closer to their workplaces. With employee parking needs decreased, the companies can sell or lease the empty spaces and make some pocket money of their own. Source: Stormy Weather p. 108
Close Roads, Open Doors
Hassaelt, Belgium is a great example of a community that has become more sustainable and more livable at the same time by changing its attitude towards transportation. It used to be a commuter city with 68,000 residents and 200,000 commuters. When the community was short on money and experiencing negative growth, the town trashed its plan to build a third ring road, closed one of the existing ring roads and planted trees in its place. They also laid more pedestrian walkways and bicycle paths, increased the frequency and quality of the bus service and made the public transportation system free. In just a year, the public transport system experienced an 800% increase in ridership, and businesses flourished. With fewer drivers on the road, there were fewer car accidents and road casualties. Social activity increased as residents finally met their neighbors. Because of the booming business community, the mayor was able to cut taxes and the town is now experiencing a healthy rate of growth. Source: Stormy Weather p. 109
Sources: Dave Kronberg, Sonoma County General Services Director and Ann Hancock Cotati's New Police Station Being Built Green Cotati is taking a big step to help preserve the earth, spurred by growing awareness and environmental stress. The city's new police station is being built to meet eco-friendly and demanding LEED standards. The design will produce a structure that generates less waste, uses materials efficiently, and conserves energy as well as money. Cotati is surely doing its part for the earth, starting here in the hub of Sonoma County.
Let's lighten up! Why? By living lightly we respect nature's limits. And a lighthearted approach makes this pursuit more satisfying—even seriously fun—and improves our chance for success. Here are some cartoons and quotes we've found to help us lighten up. We welcome your contributions to our What So Funny? gallery.
Carol Vanek, a Sebastopol graphic artist and punster, owns Tuba Loons Greeting Cards through which she sells her original work. She created the global warming card at the right to benefit the Climate Protection Campaign. We encourage you to indulge yourself and send these cards out to help spread the idea that we can laugh and protect the climate, too. To order, use the form and prices shown on the following pdf from Carol's site. Please indicate on your form that you want your purchase to benefit the Climate Protection Campaign.
On being married to an environmentalist (The following is adapted from a speech given at Earth to L.A., an NRDC fund-raiser.)
Larry and Laurie David
Thirteen years ago I met a materialistic, narcissistic, superficial, bosomy woman from Long Island. She was the girl of my dreams. She read People magazine, watched hours of mindless television and shopped like there was no tomorrow. Finally I'd met someone as shallow as me. I was hopelessly in love. We got married in a touching ceremony in Las Vegas. The cab driver who witnessed it was deeply moved. But then after a few short months I began to sense that something had changed. She started peppering her conversation with words like ozone layer, sustainable forestry and toxic runoff. The very mention of the word diesel would bring on back spasms. I began to notice new people hanging around the house, people who were not in show business and wore a lot of tweed. Clearly something was amiss. She was growing. How hideous. But what was now all too painfully obvious was that I, Larry David, the shallowest man in the world, had married an environmentalist.
Who is responsible for this odious transformation? I blame it all on the Natural Resources Defense Council. Specifically one Robert F. Kennedy Jr. One day my wife heard him speak, and for all intents and purposes, that was the end of my marriage as I knew it. He poisoned her mind with all his talk of clean air and clean water. My advice to you: Watch out. He's tricky. Very, very, tricky.
Because I can tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that the woman who lives in my house and occasionally sleeps in my bed is not the woman I married. The woman I married would not interrupt me after 30 seconds in the shower and tell me, "That's enough. Get out! You're wasting the water." The woman I married would not scream at gardeners and threaten to call the police if they didn't turn off their leaf blowers. The woman I married would not chastise me for flushing a toilet. That's right, flushing a toilet. This is where I draw the line. I said, "I can take shorter showers, I'll even shampoo and condition without the water on, but you'll never get me to stop flushing. I was raised to flush. I enjoy flushing. It is one of my few pleasures. You will not take that away from me."
Once I came home from playing golf. "What are you doing?!" she screamed. "Don't you dare come in here. You've got pesticides on your shoes. Those golf shoes cause cancer. I don't want them in my house!" But the worst of it was the night I got a call at work. It was 10 o'clock at night. I was doing a rewrite. "Your wife is on the phone!" "Yes?" "Mitsubishi's building a salt mine in San Ignacio." "Honey, I've got a show tomorrow." "Didn't you hear a word I said? They're endangering the gray whale!"
For the next two years I couldn't have one conversation without hearing the word Mitsubishi. "Mitsubishi, Mitsubishi!" She was obsessed with Mitsubishi. She'd go up to strangers on the street. "Don't buy anything from Mitsubishi. They're killing the whales!" Then she dragged me down to San Ignacio to see the whales. For three days I slept in a tent, drank from a canteen and conducted my business in an outhouse. She actually got to touch a whale, and had her first orgasm in six years.
Last year a friend of mine hit on hard times. No job, in debt, had nothing, about to get kicked out of his apartment. I loaned him $5,000. "How dare you loan him money. You could've given that money to the NRDC." "But he has nothing. He's starving." "I don't care! Let him starve."
I thought I hit pay dirt with Seinfeld. I wasn't the one who hit pay dirt. The NRDC hit pay dirt. No sooner do the residual checks come in than they go out to the NRDC. I gave them so much money one year that lawyers were calling me up – "Mr. David, we're thinking about suing Dow Chemical. Do we have your support?" "Sure, go ahead, we're about to sell third cycle."
So please, ladies and gentlemen, I implore you. Do what you can to help clean up this planet so I can get my wife back. I don't have that much more time. Thank you.