The Contra Costa County Climate Leaders (4CL) program is a network assisting the county and its 19 cities to inform, support and encourage the measurement and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Through education and sharing of best practices we will ensure sustainable, healthy and livable cities.

April 2009

April 2009

Funding

President Obama funds Hybrids!

$4.8 billion in stimulus cash has been designated to help meet Obama’s plug-in electric hybrids goals. Obama said the investment would create tens of thousands of jobs while helping end dependence on oil.

New Bill would add thousands of ‘green volunteers’

The House approved a program for Americorps, expected to create thousands of volunteer opportunities to weatherize homes, rebuild trails and parks, and gain marketable skills in a new green economy. The Clean Energy Corps program is part of the GIVE Act (Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education) tripling AmeriCorps volunteer numbers.

Tips on Competing for Energy and Climate Funding:

To successfully compete for federal climate and energy funding: 1) Build programs instead of projects – demonstrate that your community will develop sustainable energy/climate programs that will produce long-term results 2) Focus on green job creation -economic stimulus dollars should generate new jobs 3) Partner – regional efforts will encouraged 4) Leverage – tap multiple sources of federal support 5) Attend the Local Climate Leadership Summit and make yourself aware of the federal resource opportunities available to you. (See Event section below for more information on ICLIE events).

Local City News

Richmond has completed its GHG emissions inventory!

The report was accepted by the City Council in March.

Martinez has completed its community GHG emissions inventory and published a Climate Action Plan!

Please provide public comment

Pittsburg has launched a wonderful new Climate Action website!

The city is currently completing its greenhouse gas inventory.

Palo Alto developing Solar through PPA

The city is looking to develop up to 150 GWh/year to offset the current electricity demands of the city. This project is one of the largest city PPA’s currently being planned.

Other City News

Copenhagen aims to be carbon neutral by 2025

Since it is nearly impossible to eliminate all CO2 emissions, being carbon neutral means that the city can offset its emissions by investing in Kyoto Protocol-style projects that reduce pollution elsewhere. Urging Copenhagen residents, businesses and energy suppliers to cooperate with the municipality in the fight for a “green capital”, politicians believe that the 2025 date was realistic.

European Union Formalizes Ban on Inefficient Lighting

By 2012, European businesses will no longer be able to purchase inefficient lighting options. The move is expected to eliminate 32 million tons of CO2 emission annually. Starting this year in Europe, regular incandescent light bulbs will be replaced by progressively improved alternatives. By 2012, the inefficient incandescent will be completely banned.

Methane emissions reexamined at Chinese Academy of the Science

Scientists have generated a global map of methane emissions from rice paddies for the year 2000, using country-specific estimates of rice harvest area and data on agricultural practices.

Legislation

Adaptation Focused Legislation

A new American Clean Energy and Security Act centers on adaptation. This energy bill marks a shift in focus from merely cutting greenhouse gas emissions to dealing with unavoidable consequences of global warming. The bill would establish a cap-and-trade program to cut greenhouse gas emissions, set a national renewable electricity standard, and create new energy efficiency programs. It notably focuses on helping communities and ecosystems deal with unavoidable climate change resulting from the amount of carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere.

Obama promotes budget as solution for oil addiction

President Obama touted his budget proposal as a tool to help reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil and revive the economy, as the administration launched a sales blitz for its $3.6 trillion spending blueprint. He pointed to the work of renewable energy-based business as a key to U.S. economic recovery.

EPA Releases Proposed Rule on Greenhouse Gas Reporting

EPA proposed the first comprehensive national system for reporting emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases produced by major sources in the United States. The pre-publication text of the proposed rule, details on the public hearings, instructions on how to submit comments, and other information may be found at: www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ghgrulemaking.html”>

Impacts

Will water be the next oil?

According to a recent report issued by a coalition of investors, environmental groups and other public interest groups, few businesses and investors are paying attention to the financial threat presented by water scarcity problems around the world. The report is entitled Water Scarcity and Climate Change: Growing Risks for Business and Investors.

Changing Climate increases West Nile Threat in U.S.

This report details how higher temperatures, humidity and rainfall associated with climate change have led to increased outbreaks of West Nile Virus infections across the United States in recent years. The authors predict the pattern will only get worse.

Watershed region already paying for climate change

As some still debate the potential costs of climate change, Chesapeake Bay region is already paying the bills. State and local governments are spending millions to cope with rising sea levels, which are increasing almost twice as fast in the Chesapeake than they are in the rest of the world. Many towns whose economies are built around beaches are watching their central attractions wash out to sea. The continued use of bulkheads to prevent seawater from overrunning towns are also killing the beaches as they interfere with sand movement.

Economics

Sonoma County Is Boosting The Economy

Sonoma County is providing loans to residents through their “Energy Independence Program,” which will allow residential and commercial property owners in the unincorporated areas, as well as all nine cities, to borrow the money for improvements such as solar panels and double-paned windows. The loans are designed to create energy improvements, jobs and help get this economy going again.

US stimulus money fuels “smart” power grid surge

President Barack Obama’s stimulus package devotes 10 billion dollars to smart energy technology, with nearly half of the money designated for power grid innovations. Tens of billions of dollars in the stimulus package are for new power lines, ideally in remote spots where winds or sun are prime for turbine or solar power generation. This sudden flow of money has promoted the technology development once again.

Upcoming Events

Local Environmental Events: April/May 2009

Green Government 2009

A four day on-line webinar begins this month, April 23rd, Training covers strategic planning, green office, carbon footprint and green buildings for Government.

Clean Energy Municipal Financing Seminar for Local Government Leaders April 24, Berkeley

Local government leaders are searching for tools to enable their constituents to make energy efficiency improvements and add solar PV and solar thermal systems to their homes and businesses. This seminar will introduce an emerging financing tool -Clean Energy Municipal Financing (CEMF) – that funds the upfront costs of energy improvements for property owners and enables them to repay these over 20 years as they receive reduced monthly energy bills. To register, visit Municipal Management Association of Northern CA or call 866.963.1627

Local Climate Leadership Summit

May 18-20 Washington, DC Sessions at the Summit will cover the dos and don’ts of EECBG funding, including the development of an effective Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy. And with a June deadline for funding applications, a Summit in May with this type of training and guidance is perfectly timed. For Additional Event Information or to reserve your space, E-mail: localclimateleadershipsummit@iclei.org or visit: localclimateleadershipsummit.org.

Successful LEED Projects: Lessons Learned May 21st, Pleasanton

The US Green Building Council- Northern California Chapter (USGBC-NCC) will be presenting the stories of three LEED-certified projects, commercial, civil and residential: Dahlin Group, Pleasanton, Alameda County Juvenile Hall, Oakland, and Hansen Lane, Danville. To register visit here.

Other

2009 Call for Entries: National Award for Smart Growth Achievement

Applications are now being accepted for the 8th annual National Award for Smart Growth Achievement. This competition is open to public-sector or private sector applicants that have used smart growth principles. Smart growth development serves the economy, the community, and the environment. Applications are due on April 23, 2009.

Climate change comes to your backyard

US Department of Agriculture revises its plant hardiness map, bringing climate change. The guide, last updated in 1990, shows where various species can be expected to thrive. A revision is expected this year, and expect the new map to extend plants’ northern ranges and paint a sharp picture of the continent’s gradual warming over the past few decades. An estimated 82 million U.S. households currently do some form of gardening, a number expected to increase as more Americans plant vegetable gardens to cut food costs.

EPA Opens Comment Period on Proposal For Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting The Environmental Protection Agency is opening a 60-day comment period April 10 on a proposed rule that for the first time would impose federal greenhouse gas emissions reporting requirements on industrial facilities that emit more than 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide or carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gases a year. The comment period closes June 9.