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.

May 2009

May 2009

Funding

Knight Foundation Commits $100 Million to Address Climate Change

McKnight Foundation, Hewlett and Packard foundation, and ClimateWorks partner to support a comprehensive strategy to reduce emissions from key regions around the world, primarily the United States and China. Grants are given to applicants who develop Greenhouse reducing initiatives in the areas of power, buildings or transportation. Projects that are good models for state-wide or regional changes are most sought after. Proposals are accepted on a continual basis. For more information, visit.

School Energy Efficiency Bill Under Vote

A bill to authorize up to $6.4 billion in grants to schools for green building and energy efficiency projects is completing its second run in Congress. The bill would be providing improved learning environments for students, and would also create jobs. The Department of Education would be allowed to issue grants for modernization, renovation or repairs of existing schools. Increasing funds would be used for projects that meet standards under Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Energy Star, Collaborative for High Performance Schools or Green Globes.

Local City News

9 CCC Cities Qualify 40 Buildings for Energy Star Efficiency Design Up-to-Date

An astounding 75 buildings were designed to earn the ENERGY STAR certification in the latest press release 60% increase over previous years! Consider your own city building, or approval conditions for new commercial buildings in your city. Projects that qualify for this designation are designed to create fewer GHG emissions and save money on energy bills over the lifetime of the building.

Lafayette looks at Green Building Ordinances

The city’s environmental task force is developing a green building ordinance that would require new houses and significant remodeling projects to be built according to environmentally-friendly building standards. In its current draft, the ordinance would require new houses to earn 50 points based on a checklist put together by the Berkeley-based non-profit Build It Green.

Local Governments go Green

States and localities are benefiting from developing initiatives aimed at providing an increasingly clean, renewable, and efficient supply of energy; supporting the development and deployment of emerging technologies; and achieving energy cost savings through greater end-use efficiency in residential and commercial buildings, municipal facilities, and transportation.

For those interested in additional information about programs and resources, visit “>epa.gov

Other City News

SF Composts on a large scale

About 2,000 restaurants, 2,080 large apartment buildings and 50,000 single-family homes have embraced the SF’s compost program. In one year, 105,000 tons of food scraps and yard trimmings created 20,000 tons of compost for 10,000 acres. The program reduces the waste ending its life in a landfill and provides quality soil, which stores carbon. A lifecycle is created where compost aids plant growth; the crops are sold in farmer’s markets to restaurants and families who will contribute their scraps to the next batch of compost. Mayor Gavin Newsom is expected to take an ordinance to the Board of Supervisors making this program mandatory for all customers. To see the full article, visit epa.gov.

Legislation

EPA Opens Comment Period on Proposal For Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting

The proposed rule 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. Greenhouse gas emissions reporting is seen as a prerequisite to mandatory federal controls on greenhouse gas emissions, whether through legislation or through EPA action. The Federal Register comment period closes June 9. Follow the online instructions for filing comments. Information on the greenhouse gas emissions reporting proposal is available at epa.gov.

Climate Equity Alliance: Voicing Principles for Global Warming Bill

Incorporating two dozen groups ranging from international relief giant Oxfam America to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the alliance is launching six principles aimed at Congress as it drafts a global warming bill. The coalition wants a significant portion of money raised under a greenhouse gas cap to go for direct rebates to those with low and moderate incomes, as well as a chunk of dollars to spur the creation of “green” jobs. It also is calling for workers in energy-intensive industries to get extra help as corporations transition away from fossil fuels.

“Cash for Clunkers” Agreement

Consumers may trade in their old, gas-guzzling vehicles and receive vouchers worth up to $4,500 to help pay for new, more fuel efficient cars and trucks. The program will be authorized for up to one year and provide for approximately one million new car or truck purchases. With this plan, Americans will save at the dealership, will save money at the gas pump, and reduce dependence of foreign oil. At the same time, the American auto industry will be benefiting as well.

Impacts

Pacific Institute Predicts CA Costal Flooding

With the melting of the polar ices caps, sea levels are rising and coastal development are at high risk of flooding. The Pacific Institute’s analysis determined that the character of the CA coast will be altered and some areas of development may need to be abandoned all together. The combination of science, statistics and maps indicate that immediate action is necessary in order to assess the local risk and determine which areas should focus on protection. For the full article with links to the report, visit alternet.org

Wildfires are a Contributor and Result of Climate Change

A warming climate will fuel larger, more frequent wildfires in the Sierra Nevada and other parts of the West, and the fires will contribute to climate change at a larger scale than previously thought, according to a new study. The burning vegetation results in a release of carbon storage. The report’s 22 authors call for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, to recognize the overarching role of fire in global climate change and to incorporate fire better into future models and reports about climate change.

Arctic Nations Agreed to Reduce Soot

Soot is darkening ice around the North Pole and hastening a thaw induced by global warming. The Soot darkens the ice and allows it to soak up more heat, accelerating climate change stoked by carbon dioxide. Some research shows that these common pollutants have contributed almost as much to temperature rises in the Arctic over the past century as carbon dioxide emissions.

Economics

Ranking mutual funds by carbon footprint

An environmental research firm released rankings of leading U.S. mutual funds’ carbon emissions, providing a valuable tool for companies and shareholders as the United States weighs regulations for greenhouse gas emissions. The report by London-based Trucost PLC examined the carbon performance of 91 funds with a total value of $1.55 trillion. The funds were deemed to produce more than 615 million metric tons of greenhouse gases. Fund managers and asset owners can use carbon analysis to protect their assets from added Carbon costs and investing in those that contribute the least GHG emissions.

Investment in Energy: Delay Tactics

The Obama administration wants to reduce oil consumption, increase renewable energy supplies and cut carbon dioxide emissions in a transformation of energy policy. The world’s oil giants are not quite as invested. Analysts claim that without federal rules that set a price on carbon, oil companies will not have the incentive to develop the needed alternative technology, they will pursue development when they have to. Others believe that oil companies are waiting for a winning technology to emerge before investing. The companies are not blind to the new political reality but they are also in the business of making a profit. Will the increased investment in years to come be too late? The full article can be found at nytimes.com.

Upcoming Events

Local Environmental Events: May/June 2009

Successful LEED Projects-Lessons Learned May 21st

Pleasanton. Commercial, civil and residential projects will be highlighted. Success stories come from Pleasanton, Oakland and Danville. To register for the event, visit: usgbc-ncc.org.

Green Government 2009 May 23rd

A four day on-line webinar training covering strategic planning, green office, carbon footprint and green buildings for Government.

Green Biz Cert Workshop June 5th

Antioch. Learn exactly what it means to be a green and whether you qualify for the FREE Green Business Certification. Learn why businesses should go green and work with experts to identify specific steps you can take to be greener. To RSVP and make payment by check or credit card, contact Alex McMullen at amcmull@hsd.cccounty.us or (925) 646-2286 by June 1. For questions, call (925) 646-2286 or email rbwaite@hsd.cccounty.us.

Contra Costa Association of Realtors Greenwalk 5K June 14th

Walnut Creek. Join in a walk for scholarships and empower the community to become energy efficient! After the walk, browse the Green Fair and discover ways to become more energy efficient. To pre-register, visit ccartoday.com.

Other

ICLEI USA introduces CACP 2009

The latest version of Clean Air & Climate Protection emissions analysis software is now available. CACP 2009 is based on the principles and methods of the Local Government Operations Protocol. It includes new protocol-based emission factors and data, new data layouts, and enhanced functionality for data input. Visit www.icleusa.orgto learn more and to download the new software.

Applications Accepted for 2009 Green Power Leadership Awards

To recognize the actions of individuals and organizations that are significantly advancing the development of renewable electricity sources through green power markets, EPA, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Center for Resource Solutions are sponsoring the 2009 Green Power Leadership Awards. Please see the 2009 Green Power Leadership Awards & Renewable Energy Markets 2009 Web site for more information at: renewableenergymarkets.com Nominations are due by May 29th. To find out how your organization can join the Green Power Partnership, visit epa.gov.

Congress Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming

View updates by visiting their website . The site has a wide variety of information, including podcasts of past speeches and testimony; a carbon calculator; tips on what citizens can do to reduce global warming; links to hearings, publications, and legislation; discussions of energy and climate issues; and even a kid’s page.