Contra Costa County Climate Leaders (4CL)

A project of Generation Green a 501(c)3 Non Profit Organization
Contra Costa County Leaders
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You'll find case studies, issues of the month, workshop materials, archived newsletters and updates on local government activities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Contra Costa County.

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The 4CL Program offers:
Quarterly workshops for education and networking opportunities
Monthly newsletters for environmental updates, pertinent local information, and interesting upcoming events
Ongoing website containing the CCC city environmental developments, archived newsletters, and other educational resources.

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Newsletter Contributors:
Anne Cavazos
4CL Consultant

Katherine Bracken
4CL Volunteer
Contributing editors:
Lynda Deschambault
Executive Director 4CL
Jency James
Jr 4CL Consultant
Newsletter articles are collected from a variety of sources and are cited via a website reference when applicable
To add content or events to our next monthly newsletter, please send an email to  

March 2014

East Bay Energy Watch (EBEW) News

Save City Funds and Energy! EBEW Municipal Energy Management Benchmarking gives local governments the tools they need to effectively manage and monitor energy use in municipal facilities. Using the EPA ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager online tool, Energy Watch Professionals provide no-cost energy benchmarking assistance and technical expertise. Benchmarking in Portfolio Manager helps local governments answer questions about energy efficiency:
  • How much energy does each building use? How much did each building use last year?
  • How much energy was used by streetlights and traffic signals this year?
  • What portion of the government’s operating expenses is dedicated to energy?
  • Which buildings are relatively energy efficient?
  • Which buildings present energy audit and potential retrofit opportunities?
  • How much less energy would buildings need to use in order to qualify for National ENERGY STAR recognition?
View the EBEW website for more information.


U.S. Department of Energy and Georgetown University Announces Competition for Energy Efficiency in Local Communities. The winning community will receive $5 M. A Non-binding letter of intent should be submitted as soon as possible and by February 2014. The Georgetown University Energy Prize is a competition to encourage innovative, replicable, and scalable approaches to reducing energy use in communities across the United States. Aimed at increasing the number of municipalities, utilities, and individuals working to save energy in their homes and communities, the competition supports the pursuit of greater energy efficiency that reduces greenhouse gases and saves consumers money.

Local City News

Walnut Creek Bans Plastic Bags. The Walnut Creek City Council voted Tuesday to join the 100 other cities and counties throughout the state banning single-use carryout plastic bags at all restaurants and retail stores, including supermarkets and pharmacies. Walnut Creek is the fifth city in the county, after Richmond, El Cerrito, Pittsburg and San Pablo, to ban plastic bags. A Walnut Creek assessment done in 2010 found that plastic bags were the most commonly found litter in the city's waterways. View the Full Article.
Pleasanton Declares 'Stage One of Water Shortage Contingency Plan'. What is your city doing to address drought? The recent declaration of a statewide drought made by Governor Brown has prompted local municipalities to ask consumers to help conserve water. Add the City of Pleasanton to the most recent ranks of cities in the Bay Area to ask residents to reduce their water consumption by 20 percent. City officials released a list of tips to help immediately tighten up the tap. View the Full Article.
San Francisco Bans Selling Plastic Water Bottles On City Property. The sale and distribution of plastic water bottles on public property in San Francisco will soon be banned following a unanimous vote today by the city's Board of Supervisors. The legislation which targets water bottles of up to 21 ounces, will take effect October 1st. The production, distribution and disposal of plastic water bottles uses 2,000 times more energy than the use of tap water. San Francisco uses between 10 and 15 million plastic water bottles annually. The city's water, which comes from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, "is the best-tasting tap water in the nation". View the Full Article.

Sign Up Now for the 2014 CoolCalifornia City Challenge!  Engage residents to take simple, everyday actions to reduce their carbon footprints by building community spirit through "Green Teams", earning points for participation, which can result in prize money for your city, and helping your city achieve its carbon reduction goals. Check out the CoolCalifornia Cities web page for more information or email  with "Add My City" in the subject line and we will work with you to officially join the next round of the Challenge. The deadline for cities to sign up is March 30th.

Other City News

Two Solar Projects Approved in California, Nevada. Two additional solar energy projects near the Nevada-California border are expected to supply 550 megawatts of renewable energy, enough to power about 170,000 homes, and support more than 700 jobs through construction and operations. This brings to 50 the number of utility-scale renewable energy proposals the Interior Department has approved since 2009. Together, the projects could support more than 20,000 construction and operations jobs and, when built, generate nearly 14,000 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power 4.8 million homes. View the Full Article.
How Las Vegas Aims To Hit The Green Meetings Jackpot. When you think of Las Vegas, bright lights and glitz probably come to mind — not exactly eco-friendly concepts. So it's somewhat surprising to learn that the city has developed into a sustainable city for meetings and events. View the Full Article.
Massachusetts Leads Again. Massachusetts has banned commercial operations from sending food waste to landfills as part of its climate action plan.  As of October 1, 2014, any entity that generates at least one ton of organic material per week has to either donate or re-purpose useable food and send the rest to a biogas facility, where it will be converted to clean energy or composted. View the Full Article.
EPA Releases Two Climate and Energy Strategy Guides For Local Governments.
On-Site Renewable Energy Generation. A growing number of local governments are turning to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, biomass, hydropower, and landfill gas, to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improve air quality and energy security, boost the local economy, and pave the way to a sustainable energy future Combined Heat and Power, also known as cogeneration, refers to the simultaneous production of electricity and thermal energy from a single fuel source. Reductions in fuel use can produce a number of benefits, including energy cost savings, reduced GHG emissions, and reductions in other air emissions. To access these guides and others in this series, please visit the Local Climate and Energy Strategy Series page.



Mandatory Water Restrictions in Place for Fremont, Newark, and Union City. The Alameda County Water District declared an emergency water shortage Thursday night. The district includes more than 330,000 people in Fremont, Newark and Union City. Starting immediately, residents are not allowed to water their lawns on consecutive days, refill swimming pools or use a hose to clean things. View the Full Article.
House Revises California Drought Bill. The Senate bill would give water managers new “flexibility” to move water from the delta to southern San Joaquin Valley farms and provide $300 million for various water projects. A Republican drought bill has already passed the House. It would divert water to Central Valley farms from the delta and override the Endangered Species Act to ensure more water for agriculture. House Democrats hope their suggestions make their way into Feinstein and Boxer’s bill, in case that legislation becomes the basis for conference-committee negotiations with House Republicans. View the Full Article.



Pentagon Warns That Climate Change Could Enable Terrorism. In its 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, the Pentagon identifies the impacts of climate change as “threat multipliers” that “may increase the frequency, scale, and complexity of future missions,” and outlines “creative ways” of potentially addressing them.  Threat multipliers will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability, and social tensions – conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence.” the Pentagon itself, as a major consumer of fossil fuels, is only contributing to these problems. View the Full Article.
California Drought May Force Transporting Salmon by Tanker Trucks.  Drought conditions have left many rivers dry, making it difficult for young salmon to swim to the ocean. Officials are now working on a plan to truck more than 15 million young fish from the Coleman Fish Hatchery near Redding closer to the ocean. View the Full Article.
Is Your State Prepared For The Health Impacts Of Climate Change? Climate change is “one of the most serious public health threats facing our nation.” Extreme heat alone kills more people each year than other natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes combined. In 2006, the CDC established its Climate-Ready State and Cities Initiative, which provides grant funding and other resources to help state health departments develop projections of how each state’s climate and weather patterns will change with increasing temperatures in order to prepare for the possible health impacts. Just 16 states and two cities are currently part of the program.  View the Full Article. View 4CL’s resources from our Public Health and Climate Change Workshop.



How California Cities are Overhauling Infrastructure for Greater Sustainability and Savings. While cities across California continue to struggle financially, many are realizing that there is one expense that is entirely under their control – their electricity bill. Advancements in technology have made solar arrays and LED lights more accessible than ever. What’s more, private sector companies promoting these new technologies are working with cities to finance energy retrofit endeavors so that many different types of projects can be employed with little to no cost to the municipality. Throw in some rebates from the utility companies, and the question shifts from “why retrofit” to “why not?” View the Full Article.
U.S. Solar Power Soars By 41% in 2013. For the 12 months ending in December, installations of PV solar totaled 4,751 MW of new capacity with an estimated market value of $13.7 billion, according to SEIA's annual report. Roughly 60 percent of that new PV capacity was for utility-scale projects, while 23 percent was for commercial use and 17 percent was residential. More than half of the new photovoltaic generation, 2,621 MW, came in one state, California. View the Full Article.



6 Crazy Photos That Show Why California Is Desperate For Rain.  At the beginning of the year, water officials said that the water content in the statewide snowpack — which provides roughly one-third of water used for cities and farms as it melts during the spring months — was about 20% of normal for that time of year. To illustrate the severity of California's drought, the water department released a comparison photo of Folsom reservoir near Sacramento on July 20, 2011 — when the lake was at 97% capacity — and Jan. 16, 2014 — when the lake was at just 17% capacity. View the Full Article and Photos. View 4CL’s Drought Resiliency Workshop resources for what cities can do to do their part!
National Academy Of Sciences Delivers Highly Readable Climate Change Warning. The US National Academy of Sciences and the U.K. Royal Society have achieved a breakthrough in readability with their new report, “Climate Change: Evidence & Causes.”  The Academy and Society shrewdly break the mold for climate reports by starting with a Climate Change Q&A — and by beginning each answer with a short, non-technical response. View the Full Article.


Upcoming Events

Transit & Cities: Past, Present, Future. Berkeley, CA.  March 20 – 21, 2014. Transit is vital to the sustainability of cities environmentally, economically, socially. Trains and buses are the most resourceful way of moving large numbers of people about the city. They use less space and energy and, when powered by clean fuels, emit fewer pollutants than any mode.  The Conference will have speakers, panel discussions, and includes meals evening reception and refreshments. Register.

Climate Reality Project Presentations. Various CCC Locations. March – April 2014. Sustainable Lafayette has partnered with Wei-Tai Kwok of the Climate Reality Project to present the latest facts about climate change to 1,000 people in the Lamorinda area in 2014!  View Presentation Dates.
Portfolio Manager 101 Webcast. March 25, 10:00-11:30 AM (PDT). Join ENERGY STAR as they introduce and demonstrate the core functionality of EPA’s new ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool. Attendees will learn how to navigate the new Portfolio Manager, add a property and enter details about it, enter energy and water consumption data, share properties, generate performance reports to assess progress, and respond to data requests. Register
Portfolio Manager 201 Webcast. March 26, 10:00-11:30 AM (PDT). Continue to learn about EPA’s new ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool, with a deeper dive into more advanced functionalities such as managing and tracking changes to your property uses over time, using spreadsheet templates to update property data, setting goals and targets to plan energy improvements for properties, generating and using custom reports, and using the Sustainable Buildings Checklist. Register

11th Annual Water Conservation Showcase.  San Francisco. March 25, 2014, 9:00 am - 6:00 pm. This event brings together the full spectrum of stakeholders, decision makers, experts, and community members to explore and propel knowledge in water conservation. Event Highlights:  8 Education Sessions (GBCI Continuing Education Pending) ; 50+ Exhibitors showcasing the latest water-conserving products and services ; Learn about rebates from your local water district; Network with up to 1,000 local professionals. Attend free of charge. Registration Information.

Plastics 360 Conference. Lafayette, CA. March 29, 2014. As cities throughout California are adopting plastic bag bans, here is an excellent opportunity for city leaders and elected officials to learn more about plastics, their impact and their possibilities. Details and Registration Information.

Webinar on the Best of the Clean Cities Tools and Resources. March 31, 2014, 10:00 a.m. PDT.
You will learn about the top 10 resources the Clean Cities Technical Response Service uses to answer common questions related to alternative fuels, advanced vehicles, and other petroleum-reduction strategies. The presentation will give a brief overview of popular Alternative Fuels Data Center tools as well as resources available from the national laboratories, other federal agencies, and industry. Clean Cities TRS staff will review the tools, including the type of questions each can help answer. No pre-registration is required. Webinar Details.

California Adaptation Forum. Sacramento, CA. August 19-20, 2014. Hosted by the Local Government Commission and the State of California, the Forum is expected to attract and engage a diverse mix of over 600 policymakers and leaders from the public and private sectors, all of whom recognize that addressing adaptation is important to the long-term health and well-being of California. The audience will include elected officials, public and private sector leaders, and nonprofits addressing public health, energy, water, emergency management, agriculture, habitat conversation, and coastal management. Submit presentation proposals and register.

Please visit our website for information on Local Government actions in Contra Costa County
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Contra Costa County Climate Leaders (4CL)
P.O. Box 6993
Moraga, CA 94570

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