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 members, partners, and community stakeholders to develop this strategy (see details below).

2030 Climate Emergency Mobilization Strategy

As outlined in RCPA’s 2019 Climate Emergency Resolution and similar resolutions adopted by other Sonoma County jurisdictions, urgent and bold action is needed to respond to the climate crisis. As a result, RCPA proposes a new countywide goal: Carbon Neutral by 2030.

Carbon neutral means every ton of human caused CO2 emitted is offset with an equivalent amount of CO2 removed (e.g. via carbon sequestration).

Equity must also be fully integrated into all aspects of the strategy. As stated in the RCPA resolution, “…marginalized communities worldwide — including people of color, immigrants, indigenous communities, low-income people, those with disabilities, and the unhoused — are already disproportionately affected by climate change and must benefit from a just transition to a sustainable and equitable economy.”

The ten-year policy package is organized into three key initiatives — Decarbonization, Sequestration, and Resilience and Adaptation. High level strategies have been drafted for each initiative as shown in the table below.

The draft 2030 Climate Emergency Mobilization Strategy is available here. You can sign up to receive updates on the Strategy here.

What is the current status of the strategy?

RCPA needs community input on the draft strategy from a wide range of community stakeholders, city/county and special district staff, and local elected officials. We are forming working groups to develop more details for the strategy and will bring the full strategy to the RCPA Board for adoption in December 2020.

Why a Ten-Year Strategy? Why now?

In September 2019, the RCPA Board adopted a Climate Emergency Resolution outlining the agency’s commitment to leading countywide efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change in the decade ahead. The resolution directed the RCPA to develop a 2030 Climate Emergency Mobilization Strategy.

These efforts build on the Climate Action 2020 and Beyond (CA 2020) plan published in 2016. While most of our homes and businesses are now powered by cleaner electricity provided by Sonoma Clean Power; Sonoma Water met its carbon free water goal; and Zero Waste Sonoma is actively working to reach zero waste — we still have a long way to go! 

Our recent 2018 GHG Inventory Update revealed that our emissions were 13 percent below 1990 levels in 2018. We would need to decrease emissions by another 0.5 million metric tons CO2 equivalent (MT CO2e) in order to meet the 2020 goal.

We need you!

The climate crisis is already impacting Sonoma County through more frequent and damaging wildfires and floods. At the same time, we have taken the first big steps toward cleaner energy and transitioning away from fossil fuel use in the home and on the go. We must mobilize as a community to tackle these challenges. In addition to countywide actions, there will be a role for each of us and steps we can take to reduce the greenhouse gases we emit through our daily actions. Start with some actions you can take now.

To receive updates on the 2030 Climate Emergency Mobilization Strategy, sign up here

We welcome your feedback on the draft strategy. Please submit your comments to the RCPA by email to by August 31, 2020.

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