Greenhouse Gases

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. 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 the 2010 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.

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.

2015 Inventory Update

The RCPA has begun the first update to the community-wide GHG inventory, based on 2015 data. This update provides a reference point for progress towards Sonoma County’s goals of reducing emissions 25% below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Sonoma County Emissions in 2015 remain 9% below 1990 levels, while countywide population grew 4% and gross domestic product (GDP) increased 22%.

See the Data Blog for more information on the 2015 GHG Inventory Update. A comprehensive 2015 greenhouse gas inventory update, with a breakdown of jurisdiction specific emissions, can be downloaded here.

Countywide Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Source

Emissions from building energy use dropped 34% from 2010 to 2015. This reduction largely results from utilities (Sonoma Clean Power, PG&E, and Healdsburg Electric) providing cleaner energy to Sonoma County customers. More information available in the Building Energy Fact Sheet.

Emissions from water conveyance decreased almost 96% from 2010 to 2015. Emissions from the decomposition of solid waste increased 35% (see the above chart). More information available in the Water and Solid Waste Fact Sheets

Emissions from the two transportation sectors (on-road transportation and off-road transportation & equipment) increased 9% from 2010 to 2015. This resulted mostly from an increase of 260,000 vehicle miles traveled from 2010 to 2015 in Sonoma County. More information available in the Transportation Fact Sheet.

Countywide emissions from the fertilizer and livestock and wastewater sectors also increased from 2010 to 2015. More information available in the Livestock and Fertilizer and Wastewater Fact Sheets.