Greenhouse Gases

Community-wide progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs)

Tracking GHG emission data and trends is a critical part of understanding the role local communities play in reducing GHG emissions while planning for growth and prosperity. Through the Climate Action 2020 project, the RCPA has evaluated historic, baseline, and future emissions in Sonoma County based on internationally accepted community scale protocols and locally specific emissions data. It is also useful to look at those measurements relative to socioeconomic trends.

Climate Action 2020 has produced the following analysis of Sonoma County GHG trends:

 

Backcast

Inventory

Business-as-Usual Forecasts

Key Climate Action Plan Indicators

1990

2010

2020

2040

2050

Countywide emissions (MTCO2e)

3,966,000

3,659,000

4,395,000

4,964,000

5,147,000

Percent change from 1990

N/A

-8%

11%

25%

30%

Per capita emissions (MTCO2e/person)

10.2

7.6

8.6

8.6

8.5

CA per capita emissions (MTCO2e/person)1

14.5

12.1

12.5

12.9

13.8

Population (people)

388,222

483,878

509,766

578,329

604,851

Housing (housing units)

149,382

189,773

202,942

230,827

241,181

Employment (jobs)

172,064

202,123

229,710

247,980

256,846

1   For details on how the California per capita emissions were estimated, please refer to Climate Action 2020, Appendix C.

Historic data reveal a promising decline in total emissions and per capita emissions since 1990, but the forecasts reveal that in the absence of new actions, local GHG emissions will again rise. The work of the RCPA, its members, and partners, is focused on driving a continued downward trajectory in community-wide emissions, towards the long-term goal of 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

The 2010 baseline inventory (based on the detailed data available in that census year) gives a clear picture of where to find the biggest opportunities to reduce local contributions to climate change: transportation and building energy use cause over 85% of local GHGs.

As the RCPA develops and deploys a tracking system following the adoption of Climate Action 2020 residents, businesses and policymakers will be able to assess progress towards Sonoma County’s goal of reducing emissions 25% below 1990 levels by 2020. RCPA will provide updates to the community-wide GHG inventory, with the first update based on 2015 data, and reports on the status and impacts of projects and programs developed to reduce emissions.