RCPA Blog

Accelerating EV Adoption in Sonoma County

Sonoma County’s emissions from transportation account for roughly 60 percent of total emissions, according to RCPA’s most recent greenhouse gas inventory. To meet RCPA’s 2030 goal of achieving carbon neutrality, we must transform our transportation system from one based on fossil fuel powered cars to one that is multimodal, with more feasible clean power options for getting around in Sonoma County. These options include safer bicycle and pedestrian routes, improved transit service, and replacement of fossil fuel powered vehicles with electric vehicles (EVs). To achieve this goal, RCPA’s Sonoma Climate Mobilization Strategy includes two strategies focused on changing how we […]

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Extreme Drought Hits Hard as New Water Program Debuts in Sebastopol

As California enters a third year of drought, Bay Area communities are mobilizing to reduce water use. In the City of Sebastopol that includes joining to help its residents save water and lower their utility bills. “Sebastopol had the foresight to be the first Bay Area city to enroll in this program, before the drought was declared,” said Vice Mayor Sarah Glade Gurney, noting the City’s January 2021 decision, which enables its water customers to install water efficiency upgrades with little-to-no upfront cost using an on-bill charge that is significantly lower than the estimated savings — so they begin saving […]

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Pulling Carbon Out of the Air to Protect Our Climate

Climate action is about more than reducing the pollution being released into our atmosphere. While our primary work has been focused on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and turning to carbon-free sources, we will also need to focus on removing GHGs that are already in our atmosphere. This is especially true if we want to move fast enough to become carbon neutral by 2030. As part of the Climate Emergency Resolution adopted by the RCPA Board in September 2019, we developed a Sonoma Climate Mobilization Strategy. The overall goal of the strategy is to quickly reduce GHG emissions and to […]

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Taking carbon out of the equation

Our world is still largely run on fossil fuels. From petroleum-fueled cars to natural gas stoves, we have relied on burning things to get energy from the beginning of human history. Decarbonization means turning a new page in our evolution, where we stop relying on fire and start using smarter, cleaner forms of energy. Decarbonization means eliminating carbon dioxide from energy sources, and pulling this off will require a careful reworking of many of our systems. The good news is that we have proven solutions to decarbonize most of the activities that produce the majority of our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. […]

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Mobilizing Climate Action in Sonoma County

As the threats of devastating wildfires and Public Safety Power Shutoffs loom over Sonoma County again this summer, the message is clear: Climate action cannot wait. The Regional Climate Protection Authority (RCPA) is stepping up with a 2030 Climate Emergency Mobilization Strategy, which was presented to the RCPA Board of Directors at its August 10 meeting. Responding to growing calls for expedited local action, the ten-year strategy will define a suite of policies that can deliver the greatest and most immediate impact on local emissions — focusing on actions that need countywide coordination.  The RCPA is now working with our […]

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Strategies for a Green COVID Recovery

At the close of 2019, Sonoma County was on a path towards addressing and adapting to the climate emergency guided by the RCPA’s strategic plan. Unfortunately, 2020 has brought along an additional challenge: the COVID-19 pandemic. This health crisis has harmed local economies and communities and has tested the resiliency of the nation. The pandemic has also further highlighted the gaps and inequities that exist in the U.S. Now we are faced with the challenge of building back stronger and more resiliently while addressing equity issues and the urgent effects of climate change. Incorporating programs and initiatives that boost the […]

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Climate progress in latest Sonoma County data, but more needed by 2030

Opportunities in cleaner transportation, building energy and carbon farming The latest Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory for Sonoma County shows that community based annual emissions in 2018 were 13% below 1990 levels, with more progress needed to meet Sonoma County’s 2020 goal of 25% below 1990 levels. The new report from the Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority (RCPA) uses the most recently available data showing that Sonoma County emitted 3.41 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent (MT CO2e) in 2018. This was slightly lower than the 2015 emissions of 3.44 MT CO2e measured in the previous inventory. The RCPA is […]

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Who benefits from a resilient recovery?

Since January 2020, COVID-19 has dramatically changed everyday life for people all across the world. Now we face multiple challenges to fight against a virus and recover from an economic crash. Both of these challenges are set against the backdrop of a climate emergency and systemic social inequities. In the face of rising COVID-19 fatalities, record-high unemployment, and public demonstrations, we urgently need a way to recover our physical, social, and economic well-being. As we search for answers, we also need to ask: “Can the world afford to pay attention to climate change and the broader sustainability agenda at this time? […]

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RCPA Year in Review – 2019

So much has changed in 2019. For the RCPA, it seems like the conversation around the climate crisis has changed most of all. At the start of the year, an October 2018 United Nations report sounded the alarm that we must sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030; while Greta Thunberg, who was just named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, was not yet a household name. Later in 2019, Sonoma County residents were called once again to confront a dangerous wildfire, mandatory evacuations, and Public Safety Power Shutoffs that left thousands without electricity or gas for days at a […]

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Entering the Era of the Climate Emergency

Have you heard a news report, or maybe a friend, saying we have 10-12 years to act on climate change?  In late 2018, many headlines about the latest United Nations climate report warned that we have until 2030 to sharply reduce emissions or face disruption of essential social systems.1 That warning seems to have stuck in people’s minds more than all the previous reports. We are now witnessing the beginning of a logical response to this crisis as over 985 local governments representing over 212 million people in 18 countries have declared a climate emergency.2 It is time to mobilize […]

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2015 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Update

The 2015 GHG Inventory Update is now available (PDF, 2.6 MB). The Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority (RCPA) established a baseline communitywide Greenhouse Gas (GHG) inventory for 2010 and a back cast inventory for 1990 as part of the Climate Action 2020 and Beyond plan. The RCPA completed this 2015 inventory update to help track progress towards achieving our short and long-term emissions reduction goals. Sonoma County Emissions in 2015 remain 9% below 1990 levels, while countywide population grew 4% and gross domestic product (GDP) increased 22%. This local trend of GDP and population growth decoupling from emissions is encouraging and in-line with […]

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Preliminary 2015 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Update

Earth Day is a time to celebrate the natural beauty of our planet and reflect on what we can do to keep the planet healthy. This sneak peak of Sonoma County’s greenhouse gas emissions for 2015 reveals successes and focuses our attention on areas we need to improve. The Sonoma County preliminary greenhouse gas inventory update for 2015 shows countywide emissions to be about 9% below 1990 levels in 2015, very similar to total emissions for 2010. This reduction of emissions occurred while Sonoma County’s population and economy grew. A comprehensive 2015 greenhouse gas inventory update, with a breakdown of […]

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