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  

January 2014

East Bay Energy Watch (EBEW) News

Free Municipal Building Energy Efficiency Audits Available. The Municipal Implementation Team (MIT) Program specializes in municipal building energy efficiency audits and implementation. The program provides free energy assessments of municipal buildings, implementation assistance of recommended energy efficiency measures, and financial incentives to PG&E municipal customers in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.  For more information on how your city can benefit from the MIT program, visit or contact Brendan Havenar-Daughton, Program Manager at (510) 981-2065.


Five Star & Urban Waters Restoration 2014. Award: Approx $1.8 M combined. Program Due: February 5, 2014. The Five Star/Urban Waters Restoration Program seeks to develop community capacity to sustain local natural resources for future generations by providing modest financial assistance to diverse local partnerships for wetland, forest, riparian and coastal habitat restoration, stormwater management, outreach and stewardship with a particular focus on water quality, watersheds and the habitats they support. For more information, visit the Request for Proposals Website.

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.
Community Economic Development Assistance Programs. Due: March 14, 2014. The Economic Development Administration (EDA) is soliciting applications to develop initiatives that advance new ideas and creative approaches to address rapidly evolving economic conditions. EDA will make construction, non-construction, and revolving loan fund investments. Initiative priorities include sustainable development in economically distressed and underserved communities. For more information, visit the Grant Opportunity Website.


Local City News

Plastic Bag Ban Effective January 1, 2014 in Three Contra Costa County Cities. Beginning January 1, 2014, single-use plastic bags will no longer be available at retail stores in Richmond, San Pablo, and El Cerrito. Stores must charge a minimum of 5¢ for each paper or reusable bag sold. Customers can avoid paying for bags by bringing their own bags. View the Announcement.  For resources to implement a plastic bag ban in your community refer to the local ordinances webpage.
Cupertino: EPA Gives City Award For Food Waste Reduction Efforts. The city was honored with the U.S. EPA national award for innovative food waste reduction efforts for its ambitious three-year effort to work with grocers, residents and businesses to divert food from landfills. Cupertino and its waste-hauler, Recology South Bay, are working to divert 75 percent of waste from going into landfills. Food is the single most common material sent to landfills and accounts for 25 percent of all waste sent to landfills. When excess food, leftover food and food scraps end up in a landfill, the food decomposes and becomes a source of methane and a potent greenhouse gas. View the Full Article.
Rockefeller Resilient Community Grant US Recipients. The Rockefeller Foundation announced the first group of cities selected through the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenges. The cities will receive four kinds of support: to hire and empower a chief resilience officer, to create a central point of contact within each city to coordinate and oversee the resilience activities, to coordinate stakeholders, and to ensure that resilience is a city-wide priority. Five of the 33 initial recipients are located in California, four of which are located in the Bay Area: Alameda; Berkeley, Los Angeles, Oakland, and San Francisco. View the Full Announcement.


Other City News

Does Your City Encourage Safe Routes To Schools?  This movement encourages students to walk, ride bicycles, or use other forms of active transportation to and from school.  The Safe Routes to School Policy Workbook is designed to help school board members, administrators, families of students, and community members create and implement policies that support active transportation and Safe Routes to School programs. The workbook will walk you through a series of policy options to help you build your own customized Safe Routes to School policy, which you can download and use in your community. Visit the Website for Resources.
New Hospital Study Claims Student Health Is Threatened By Idling Buses And Cars In Front Of School Buildings. The anti-idling campaign was conducted during the fall and winter of 2010-2011 by researchers at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.  They studied outdoor air quality at four Cincinnati Public Schools before and after initiating the anti-idling campaign. Prior to the campaign, the air quality measurements exceeded community background levels at three of four schools.  The differences were greatest at the school with the most buses. Following the campaign, at the school with the most buses, background levels of particulate matter had decreased 76 percent and elemental carbon decreased 63 percent. View the Full Article.
What Los Angeles Could Look Like In 2033. The city of Los Angeles is moving toward a greener future that is friendlier to pedestrians, Metro users, and bicyclists. The article features 20 architectural renderings of sustainable development projects that may be built in Los Angeles over the next 30 years. Highlighted projects include parks arching over the tops of freeways, a high-speed bullet train from Los Angeles to San Francisco, and a $1 billion transformation of a Watts housing project into an urban village of shops, apartments, parks, and gardens. View the Full Article.



California Cap-And-Trade Off To Good Start. California's first-in-the-nation carbon auction market had a promising inaugural year, according to a report by the Environmental Defense Fund. The cap-and-trade program is the centerpiece of a 2006 law aimed at curtailing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Over the course of five auctions, California sold 142 different entities the total available stock of allowances for 2013 - some 117 million that added up to a $1.37 billion surge of revenue. View the Full Article.
California Lawmakers Urge Jerry Brown To Adopt A Fracking Moratorium. A group of California lawmakers is calling on Governor Jerry Brown to ban fracking until more research is done on the health and environmental impacts of the practice. Four California assemblymembers sent a letter to their governor asking him to put a hold on fracking while the state “fully investigate[s] the science behind fracking for oil production.” “The vast public health and safety implications of fracking, as well as the tremendous public concern over this practice, require our collective and urgent action”. “We believe it is time to join with Californians who disapprove of the dangers fracking poses to their communities.” View the Full Article.



11 Cities May Completely Run Out Of Water Sooner Than You Think. A recent Columbia University Water Center study on water scarcity in the U.S. showed that it's not just climate change that is putting stress on water supply, it's also a surging population. Since 1950 there has been a 99 percent increase in population in the U.S.combined with a 127 percent increase in water usage. Number three on the list is the San Francisco Bay Area and number 1 is Los Angeles. View the Full Huff Post Article.
Making Our Communities More Resilient To Climate Change. During the past year, the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) developed a Climate Change Implementation Plan to identify actions that it can take to help prepare for climate change impacts and protect communities. View the Full Article. For plans specific to Contra Costa County cities please refer to resources and presentation links on 4CL’s resilience workshop page.
Study: Climate Change Could Put Millions Put More At Risk Of Water Scarcity. A special issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study, found that water resources will be affected by changes in rainfall and evaporation due to climate change and further population growth will expose 40 percent more people to the risk of absolute water scarcity. View the Full Article.
Climate Change Is Spreading Diseases To New Areas In The USA, Putting Millions At Risk. Valley Fever is one of multiple diseases experts say are spreading in part because of climate change. They include a brain-eating amoeba showing up in northern lakes that were once too cold to harbor it and several illnesses carried by ticks whose range is increasing. Among the trends that contribute to the nation's changing disease map include overall warming, which makes new areas hospitable to the animals and bugs that can carry disease and increased extreme weather events such as drought, rainstorms and flooding, which create situations where diseases and insects that carry them can flourish. View the Full Article.



Congress Should Put A Price On Carbon Pollution. More than 700 companies that drive the U.S. economy have signed a declaration calling for national action on climate change. More than two dozen of the nation's leading corporations are planning for the future with the expectation that carbon emissions fees will be one of the steps the federal government will take to address climate change and are recognizing that carbon pricing - a fee based on the amount of carbon pollution that some sources of energy release into our air - is likely. Pricing carbon has been endorsed by people across the political spectrum, including prominent conservatives. View the Full Article.
U.S. Solar Installations Skyrocket. More American homes installed solar panels in the third quarter of 2013 than ever before, with 52 percent more going on line than in the same period last year, according to a new report. The report finds that 31,000 American homes installed solar panels in the third quarter. The U.S. installed 930 megawatts worth of solar panels, up 35 percent from the same time last year and is expected to install more solar panels than world leader Germany for the first time in 15 years. Solar is the second-largest source of new electricity capacity in the U.S. this year and there is now enough solar capacity in the U.S. to power 1.7 million average American homes. The residential sector is still a small proportion of the overall solar market but has the strongest growth. California continues to have the most installations. View the Full Article.



2013 Was San Ramon's Driest Year on Record. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that its rain gauges on Mount Diablo recorded 6.56 inches of precipitation for 2013. The agency has been keeping records since 1917. The normal average total for the mountain is over 25 inches. It was also more than 2 inches below the previous record of 8.91 set in 1976. Dry weather over the better half of 2013 brought wild pigs to San Ramon yards causing thousands of dollars in damage. View the Full Article.
Is The West’s Dry Spell Really a Megadrought? The drought that has been afflicting most of the Western states for the past 13 years may be a “megadrought,” and the likelihood is high that this century could see a multi-decade dry spell like nothing else seen over the past 1,000 years, according to research presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in December. View the Full Article.
2013 brings warmest November since at least 1880. Scientists reported that November 2013 was the warmest on record, across Earth, since record-keeping began in 1880. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says average global temperature, for water and land surfaces combined, was 56.6 degrees Fahrenheit (°F). That's 1.4 °F above the 20th century average. It was the 37th consecutive November with above-average temperatures. The last below-average November was in 1976. It was also the 345th straight month (almost 29 years) with above-average temperatures. View the Full Article.
Deep Freeze Puts Chill On Climate Change Talk, But Experts Aren’t Fooled. The unusually cold winter weather we are witnessing is likely because of the Arctic's rapidly disappearing ice, say researchers. The loss of ice is leaving behind warmer open water that is much less reflective to incoming sunlight than ice. The northern polar region is warming at a faster rate than the rest of the hemisphere and is impacting the behavior of the jet stream. Cold air will likely get sucked southward. Simply put, global warming can make cold snaps even worse. View the Full Article.


Upcoming Events

Green Goods: How to Create Sustainable County Purchasing and Procurement Programs. January 22, 2:00-3:15 PM (EST). As counties strive to reduce waste, conserve energy and lower operational costs, purchasing recycled and environmentally friendly goods, materials and services can greatly contribute to meeting a county's financial and sustainability goals. The National Associations of Counties hosts this webcast on how you can help your county develop an environmentally preferred purchasing program, navigate the myriad of product eco-labels and green purchasing guidelines and hear success stories from counties that have established sustainable purchasing and procurement programs. Register for the Webinar.
Webinar: Economic Development — Redeveloping Your Community.  February 5, 2014, 1:00 - 2:30 PM EST. Sustainable redevelopment can help communities revitalize neighborhoods, attract and retain businesses, and increase revenues for general funds. Topics include redevelopment policies, development practices, and resource leveraging. Register for the Webinar.

The Fifth C40 Cities Mayors Summit. February 4-6, 2014. Johannesburg. Hundreds of urban leaders from around the world will join mayors from the world's largest cities for three days to advance urban solutions to combat the impacts of global climate change. Combined, C40 cities have the potential to reduce future emissions by up to 1.3 billion tons by 2030. The C40 Mayors Summit will focus on how cities are developing and implementing innovative solutions to some of the most pressing climate and resource issues facing the world today. View C40 Event site.

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.

Global Cities Summit. Toronto, Canada. May 15 - 16, 2014. The conference theme for the 2014 Global Cities Summit is "Getting on Track: Sustainable & Inclusive Prosperity for Cities." Leaders from more than 250 cities worldwide, business leaders, senior government officials, scholars, and planning and design professionals will participate in this global event. View the Event site.

Sustainable City 2014- 9th International Conference on Urban Regeneration and Sustainability. September 23 - 25, 2014,  Siena, Italy. Call for papers and Conference Registration. Most of earth’s population now lives in cities and the process of urbanization still continues generating many problems that can be resolved by cities becoming efficient habitats, saving resources in a way that improves the quality and standard of living. New urban solutions are required to optimize the use of space and energy resources leading to improvements in the environment. These challenges contribute to the development of social and economic imbalances and require the development of new solutions. View the Conference Website.

Please visit our website for information on Local Government actions in Contra Costa County
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Moraga, CA 94570

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