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.

September 2011

September 2011

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Funding

Model Forest Policy Program – 2012 Climate Solutions University

Application Due: September 19, 2011 The Model Forest Policy Program is now accepting applications for 2012 Climate Solutions University: Forest and Water Strategies. This program offers rural U.S. communities the opportunity to be part of climate adaptation solutions urgently needed across the country. Rural local governments are invited to apply. Six communities will be provided $10,000 scholarships. For more information and to apply, visit here.

EPA National Environmental Information Exchange Network Grant– $10 million

Application Due: November 4, 2011

This grant program supports the exchange of environmental data and collaborative work within the Exchange Network. Grantees may also use grant funds for the standardization, exchange and integration of geospatial information to support work to preserve and improve the environment, natural resources, and human health. Learn more here.

Raking in Rebates

In just nine months, California grocers and other retailers — most of them small businesses — have reaped $2.8 million in utility rebates thanks to energy audits done by surveyors from Energy Smart Jobs. The green jobs program run by nonprofit PECI is working with 12 utilities to provide the free reviews for power company customers. Changes or upgrades made by the businesses have saved money and energy — almost 17.3 million annual kilowatt hours of electricity so far. Learn more here.

Local City News

San Ramon Council Adapts Climate Action Plan

The city of San Ramon has adapted a Climate Action Plan that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 15% below 2008 levels by the year 2020 and provide clear guidance to City staff regarding when and how to implement key provisions of the CAP. Learn more here.

Richmond uses urban farming to bring life and hope back to their city

A new movement is underfoot in the city of Richmond, where city officials, schools and local activists have begun to turn school yards, backyards and even city parks into gardens filled with flowers, fruits and vegetables, An organization called Urban Tilth, that promotes urban farming and food education through gardening and social activities, has even gotten the attention of their Mayor, Gayle McLaughlin. City officials have worked with this organization to give land deeds, promote gardening classes in their public schools and even allow plots in local city parks for its citizens to plant flowers and vegetables. For more information visit here. Many other cities have their eye on this movement as it has improved property value, built community and helped to retain citizens.

ABAG looks to meet ‘sustainable communities’ mandates

ABAG, the Association of Bay Area Governments, is working with several other groups to create housing and public transportation solutions to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by looking to build housing and public transportation near job-rich communities. This will aid in the reduction of the need for automobiles to commute to work. Learn more here.

Other City News

San Mateo gets to work on climate Action planning:

The county is adding an energy and climate-change element to its general plan, zoning and building codes in response to the mandates in AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act, which requires the state to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Learn more here.

Waste Management adds 1000th truck to natural gas fleet

Now the largest owner and operator of clean running heavy duty refuse trucks in North America, Waste Management is on track to becoming the cleanest fleet of heavy duty trucks in the industry. In just one year, Waste Management’s 1000 natural gas trucks will displace eight million gallons of petroleum and eliminate 45,100 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Learn more here.

Oakland neighborhoods work with EPA in cleaning up lead found in soil

The city of Oakland has found a way to clean up lead from its soil in an effective and cost friendly way. Tilling the ground fish bone into the soil and leaving it for several days results in lead free earth that is being reclaimed by neighborhoods for community gardens, parks and more. The system is quick working, cost effective and very successful. Other communities are looking to use this innovative process for their communities as well. Learn more here.

EBEW News

Learn more about EBEW here.

Thanks to all who attended our Workshop!

Benchmarking your buildings determines the quantity of energy that is being consumed by your municipal buildings. With AB 1103, your city will be required to disclose benchmarking data in a variety of situations. Benchmarking also helps to keep track of where your taxpayer dollars are being spent on energy and helps to create measureable results for grant funding sources. All of the representatives who attended our September 15th workshop are now eligible for a free benchmarking service through QuEST. For those who still have not attended a benchmarking workshop, mark your calendars for October 24th. We will be hosting an afternoon workshop that should not be missed!

Still Confused about Benchmarking?

Attached to this newsletter’s email, you will find an Issue of the Month on Benchmarking your Building’s energy. This will answer the What, When, Why and How to the Benchmarking concept. Legislation

Legislating Cap and Trade: why neither party seems to be getting it right

Washington Democrats work keep the EPA as it is while their Republican counterparts vow to cut EPA funding to save costs in what they feel is a bloated government organization. It seems neither of them have the right idea. History has shown that the issue of environmentalism is not just a liberal or conservative issue. Keeping our environment healthy is good for business, and critical for human survival. While Washington spends another election season duking it out on the Hill, local cities can work to make the environment a priority by doing things such as adapting Climate Action Plans, CAPs, and implementing initiatives that make being environmentally friendly also business friendly. Learn more here.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to Partner with Western Governors’ Association to Improve Climate Services for the Western U.S.

NOAA and the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to commit to improve the coordination and dissemination of climate information to support important long-range planning priorities and resource management decisions of WGA members. The agreement articulates two priority areas: disaster risk reduction focusing on the impact of extreme weather events, such as droughts, floods, fires and tropical cyclones; and, improved science and climate information to support the management of coastal, estuarine, and marine resources to achieving coastal communities and ecosystems. This agreement expresses a unified commitment to develop and use sound data and information to effectively manage natural resources and human infrastructure and build a more resilient West. For more information, visit here.

Federal Government creates first ever fuel efficiency standards for heavy duty trucks

The new regulations for cleaner running heavy duty trucks are estimated to help save money, reduce air pollution and decrease our dependence on oil. This is the first of its kind for heavy duty trucks. For details on the new regulations and their proposed impacts visit http://www.epa.gov/otaq/climate/regulations.htm

Impacts

U.S. Government launches international program to assist impoverished countries in their fight against global warming impacts

In late 2010, the U.S. Government rolled out a program that works with poorer countries around the globe who have and continue to be impacted by climate change. In an effort to create both economic growth as well as systems to help them deal with the effects climate change has on their countries, a program called EC-LEDS, The Enhancing Capacity for Low Emission Development Strategies was developed. This program integrates longer term economic development plans with new opportunities for green investments by tapping into new sources of climate finance. Learn more here.

After more than a year, environmental impacts caused by dispersants from BP Gulf oil spill begin to show up in reports

Earthjustice,a non profit environmental law firm, along with Toxipedia, a Wiki source for toxicology, have begun to file reports about the longer term effects that the dispersant used by BP in the Gulf oil spill have had on the environment. More than fifty of the ingredients used are linked to or suspected to have negative issues related to them. Everything from cancer in humans to acute toxicity in fish. BP chose to use a particular dispersant not on the EPA’s approved list because of its availability, not because of it’s safety record. Learn more here.

Economics

NY Mayor Bloomberg pushes the C40 (Cities Climate Leadership Group) to bring new and innovative ideas to help stop global warming.

In his third and final term, Bloomberg looks ahead and seems to have found his next big project. The C40 group, a network of Mayors from cities around the world dedicated to finding ways to stop global warming, has appointed Mayor Bloomberg as their chairman. Combined with injections of his own cash, the C40 group has also been merged with Bill Clinton’s Clinton Global Initiative and received major attention from the World Bank. Bloomberg convinced the World Bank’s president Bob Zoellick to make a financial commitment to cities that reduce carbon emissions through initiatives ranging from clean public transportation to building retrofitting. For full details visit here.

Adidas the next to commit to ‘zero discharge’ of hazardous materials by 2020

In a move that follows both Nike and Puma, Adidas announced that it plans to cut all hazardous chemicals from the production of its product by the year 2020. This announcement follows a Greenpeace campaign that targeted large clothing manufacturers by exposing the chemicals used by these companies. Learn more here.

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Discussion: Consequences of Global Climate Change Progress

September 20-22; Online

The public is invited to attend or connect online to listen to a discussion hosted by the U.S. EPA on the Consequences of Global Climate Change Progress. The EPA will be gathering university scientists, EPA scientists, and policy makers to highlight EPA supported research on the consequences of global climate change. This meeting is free and open to the public. Feel free to join for one or all three days either in person or via the Internet. If you plan to attend in person, please email your name, contact information, and institution to Michael Hiscock (hiscock.michael@epa.gov). To connect online, please register for the webinar using this link.

Youtube Climate Reality 24 hour event

September 24th, Online

What is 24 Hours of Reality? 24 Presenters. 24 Time Zones. 13 Languages. 1 Message. 24 Hours of Reality is a worldwide event to broadcast the reality of the climate crisis. It will consist of a new multimedia presentation created by Al Gore and delivered once per hour for 24 hours, in every time zone around the globe. Each hour people living with the reality of climate change will connect the dots between recent extreme weather events — including floods, droughts and storms — and the manmade pollution that is changing our climate. We will offer a round-the-clock, round-the-globe snapshot of the climate crisis in real time. The deniers may have millions of dollars to spend, but we have a powerful advantage. We have reality. Watch the live screen here. Cities are invited to post this link to their city home pages to help educate their citizens and initiate action for change.

Other

Sustainable packaging regulations now include Lifecyle impacts

Ideas about what makes a product or packaging truly sustainable can vary widely, according to Green Biz’s Jonathan Bardelinne. That’s why the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) set to work on creating a common definition of “sustainable packaging.” Originally released in late 2005, the definition was updated for the first time this month, with the SPC putting more emphasis on the impacts of packaging throughout its entire life. This means that how the extraction of raw materials used to create packaging are also considered when defining sustainable packaging. For more information, visit here.