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 City of Sonoma has cut municipal greenhouse gas emissions by 50%

Posted on September 16, 2020 by Sonoma Valley Sun

A study of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from day-to-day operations of the City of Sonoma found that municipal emissions have been cut in half since 2000. 

 A team of climate action volunteers reviewed the historical data. The results of the study, called a GHG inventory, were presented at a recent meeting of the City’s Community Services and Environment Commission.

“It is important for the City to take a lead in reducing its own carbon emissions,” said Travis Wagner, Sonoma’s sustainability coordinator. “This GHG inventory is invaluable in helping the City identify what has worked and where we need to focus.”

In conjunction with efforts at the state and regional level, the City has dramatically reduced its buildings-related GHG emissions through energy conservation, improved efficiency, and the increased use of renewable sources of electricity, the inventory found.

The City’s decisions to install solar photovoltaics and switch to Sonoma Clean Power’s “EverGreen” 100 percent renewable electricity were the driving factors in the reduction. The remaining carbon footprint from City operations is now mostly from fossil fuels used for transportation and mobile equipment, including the City vehicle fleet, police vehicle fleet, and employee commutes.  

Addressing these sources will be the key challenge in achieving further substantive GHG emissions reductions.

“Our climate is in a period of change, and greenhouse gas emissions are the primary contributor to this process,” said David F. Leland, Lead Inventory Analyst and Volunteer with the Sonoma Valley Climate Coalition. “A key step in reducing our reliance on fossil fuels is to understand how we use these fuels in our economy and in our lives, including in how we obtain and deliver essential services, such as those provided by City government. 

“Those of us who are concerned about climate change need to stop waiting for someone else to fix it for us,” said Thomas P. Conlon, Energy Consultant and Volunteer with the Sonoma Valley Climate Coalition. “You can’t manage what you don’t measure, so if you don’t know how many tons of carbon it takes to sustain your current lifestyle, then the first step you need to take is to measure your carbon footprint.”  

But while the City’s ‘municipal’ emissions have been cut by 53% since 2000,  the total figure for GHG emissions from residents, businesses, and visitors is on the rise. The Regional Climate Protection Authority recently reported that the City of Sonoma’s community-wide emissions have actually increased by 7.8 percent since 2010.

“Those of us who are concerned about climate change need to stop waiting for someone else to fix it for us,” said Thomas P. Conlon, Energy Consultant and Volunteer with the Sonoma Valley Climate Coalition. “You can’t manage what you don’t measure, so if you don’t know how many tons of carbon it takes to sustain your current lifestyle, then the first step you need to take is to measure your carbon footprint.”  

The Sonoma Valley Climate Coalition is made up of individuals and groups committed to advancing climate change solutions in Sonoma Valley and beyond.  In addition to individuals, the Coalition includes group representatives from the Earth Care Committee of the First Congregational Church, the Sonoma Ecology Center, Transition Sonoma Valley, Indivisible Sonoma County​, Praxis Peace Institute, and other local organizations.

For more information, find SonomaClimateCoalition on Facebook or visit http://SonomaClimate.com.

 

 



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