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.

Thank you to our sponsors!
Newsletter Contributors:
Anne Cavazos,
Senior 4CL Consultant

Katherine Bracken,
4CL Volunteer
Contributing editors:
Lynda Deschambault,
Executive Director 4CL
Jency James,
Student 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  

August-September 2014

East Bay Energy Watch (EBEW) News

Municipal Energy Management Benchmarking. EBEW 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 (Webinars in Events Section below) helps local governments answer questions about energy efficiency. View the EBEW website for more information. View the 4CL Website for Benchmarking Fact Sheet


2015 RWJF Culture of Health Prize. Amount: $250 K. Due: September 17, 2014. Announced prize funding to recognize communities that have improved and placed a priority on health. The prize honors communities that are committed to not only providing access to good quality care, but also to addressing the barriers to better health by transforming neighborhoods, schools, and businesses so that good health flourishes. Communities are judged in part on their commitment to sustaining environmental improvements over time. Visit the funding opportunity description.
Bloomberg Innovation Delivery Grant Program. Amount: $45 M. Due: October 6, 2014. Seeking applicants to bring innovation to city challenges through Innovation Delivery, an approach that combines idea generation techniques with a structured, data-driven approach to deliver results. In the past, projects have focused on energy issues such as energy efficiency improvements. Eligible applicants must demonstrate an intention to achieve bold and sustained change on an issue that matters to citizens.  Visit the funding opportunity description.
EDA Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Program. Amount: TBD. Due: October 17, 2014. The EDA is making available funding to create and retain jobs and increase private investment in economically distressed communities. Eligible projects must address at least one of the following areas: collaborative regional innovation, public/private partnerships, national strategic priorities, global competitiveness, environmentally sustainable development, and economically distressed and underserved communities. Visit the funding opportunity description.
HUD Community Development Block Grant- National Disaster Resilience Competition. Award: $1 Billion. Due: Undetermined. The competition invites communities that have experienced natural disasters to compete for funds to help them rebuild and increase their resilience to future disasters. The competition will support innovative resilience projects at the local level while encouraging communities to adopt policy changes and activities that plan for the impacts of extreme weather and climate change and rebuild affected areas to be better prepared for the future. View the Fact Sheet and the HUD website.

Local City News

New Requirement for Bay Area Employers. Please get the word out! The Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program requires employers with 50+ full-time employees in the Bay Area to register and offer one of four commuter benefits options to their employees by September 30, 2014. Register at and click on Commuter Benefits Program. Join a webinar on Tuesday, September 17th from 1:30 to 2:30 pm to learn more about the Commuter Benefits Program. Register for the webinar.
Moraga Climate News. Moraga’s Planning Director, Shawna Brekke-Read, resigns to take another job, and sites  the completion of the Climate Action Task Force and its Climate Action Plan, as one of her successes, Outgoing Mayor Ken Chew, who is up for election, has also said this was a priority for him during his term as mayor 4 years ago. Chew is in his second term as mayor and also running for re-election, but the City Council has yet to put the topic on its agenda.
San Francisco Looks To Car-Share. City employees in San Francisco may soon be behind the wheels of car-share vehicles rather than city-owned automobiles. San Francisco would join a group of cities that have adopted similar programs, including New York, Chicago and Indianapolis. Chicago's program uses Zipcar and is a model for San Francisco to follow. Zipcar vehicles save Chicago 25 cents a mile compared with city-managed cars. View Full Article.
Contra Costa Transportation Authority Gathering Community Input. CCTA is updating the Countywide Transportation Plan in collaboration with Regional Transportation Planning Committees, Contra Costa municipalities and local agencies, and input from the public. CCTA has scheduled several workshops throughout the county (See details in Upcoming Events), will host a telephone town hall, and has created an interactive online tool at where the public can take part in the planning process. View Full Article.
California Water Use Drops But Falls Short of Gov. Brown's Target. California water agencies reported a 7.5 percent drop in monthly water use in July in a survey released Tuesday, falling far short of Governor Brown's call for a 20 percent reduction in water use when he declared a drought emergency. View dramatic photos of California’s drought. View Full Article. Check out what local governments are doing to help with the drought.

Other City News

Leaf Blowers Generate Infuriating Noise, Toxic Gases and Hazardous Dust. Cities like Moraga have visited this issue in the past. Has your City considered banning leaf blowers?  The high levels of exhaust, particulate and noise pollution have prompted dozens of municipalities across the U.S. to pass ordinances either restricting the use of leaf blowers or banning them altogether. View Full Article.
Another City Moves to Ban Fracking. A "community bill of rights" will be on the ballot in November for the city of Kent, Ohio, after the Kent Environmental Rights Group presented a petition with over 2,000 signatures to amend the city charter and won City Council approval. View Full Article
Climate Response Goes Local. With Congress gridlocked, states and local governments continue to embrace meaningful, sophisticated climate change policies. Currently 32 states and scores of local governments have plans to address climate change while a few others enacted binding carbon pollution restrictions. View Full Article.
First Solar Microgrid Provides Backup Power For Vermont Town. When the next hurricane slams into the small, rural town of Rutland, more families will have access to emergency power thanks to the nation's first solar-powered energy storage microgrid. The system can be used to power a public emergency shelter at the high school and can power up to 2,000 homes in full sun or 365 homes year round with average weather conditions. View Full Report.
Las Vegas And Other Cities Brace, As Lake Mead Dries Up. As water levels continue to decline at Lake Mead, officials are growing concerned about possible impacts to farmers and the city of Las Vegas. The lake has dropped to 1,080 feet above sea level this year, down from a high of 1,225 feet in 1983. A projected level of 1,075 feet in January 2016 would trigger cuts in water deliveries to Arizona and Nevada. At 1,000 feet, drinking water intakes would go dry to Las Vegas. View Full Report.
Seattle Recognized as Nation’s Most Sustainable City. STAR Communities announced that Seattle has been awarded a 5-STAR Community Rating for national leadership in sustainability. The City achieved the highest score to date, and is only the second in the nation to achieve the rating which evaluates the livability and sustainability of U.S. communities. View the Full Article to find out which efforts stood out among its sustainability initiatives.
EcoCitizen World Map Project – How “Eco” is Your City?  Along with citizens and community organizations in the pilot cities, teams are assessing urban resource flows with an eye to co-developing appropriate ways to boost efficiency and resilience while improving neighborhood health and quality of life. Take the Eco-City survey and get yourself and your city on the map!


Environmental Legislation among Gov. Brown’s Decisions. Lawmakers spent the hectic final weeks of August in an effort to get their bills passed. The 768 bills that survived now face their final test: Gov. Jerry Brown.  Groundwater package (SB 1168, SB 1319, AB 1739): With a historic drought prodding them into action, lawmakers passed legislation that could make California the final Western state to oversee how much water is pumped out of the ground. Plastic bag ban (SB 270):  Would prohibit single-use plastic bags in allowing grocers to instead offer paper or reusable bags for a fee.
View Full Article.

California Moves to Quicken Solar Permits. AB 2188, which would require local governments to adopt a streamlined permitting process that conforms to best practices for expeditious and efficient permitting of small residential rooftop solar systems, is on the governor's desk for signing. Advocates for home solar energy systems say reducing permit delays and local fees will encourage more households to generate their own pollution-free electricity. View Full Article.
Bill to contain green utilities dies in state Senate. AB 2145 which would have limited the size of community-based power providers died in the state in late August. Marin Clean Energy, formed in 2008 and operational in 2010, was the first public utility of its kind in California giving consumers the option of buying electricity that is 50- to 100-percent supplied from renewable sources such as wind and solar. View Full Article.
Adaptation LegislationAB 2516 passed. The new law requires the Resources Agency and Ocean Protection Council to produce and regularly update a Planning for Sea Level Rise Database that describes California projects to address sea level rise. SB 1217 did not pass. The bill would have expanded the state's climate impacts assessment work including Infrastructure Resilience Guidelines, new adaptation duties for the Strategic Growth Council, and other items. 


Sunscreens as a Source of Hydrogen Peroxide Production in Coastal Waters. Warming coastal waters mean more tourism and more sunscreen; and that then means more chemicals for the oceans that have toxic effects on marine organisms. Photoexcitation of inorganic UV filters such as titanium oxide and zinc oxide under solar radiation produces significant amounts of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), a strong oxidizing agent that generates high levels of stress on marine phytoplankton. View Abstract
U.N. Draft Report Lists Unchecked Emissions’ Risks. Past emissions, and the failure to heed scientific warnings about the risks, have made large-scale climatic shifts inevitable. But lowering emissions would still slow the expected pace of change, the report said, providing critical decades for human society and the natural world to adapt. “Continued emission of GHGs  will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.” View Full New York Times Article.


Cities Move to Protect Businesses Due to Economic Ramifications of Climate Change. Cities that disclosed their climate change strategies and actions through the Climate Disclosure Project indicate that extreme weather and other effects of climate change threaten the stability of their local economies, with damage to property and capital assets, transport and infrastructure destruction, and citizen well-being among the most commonly reported risks. More than three quarters of cities see financial benefits from taking action on climate change.  Portland, for example, reports that its Energy Challenge program resulted in savings of $42 million since the program’s inception in 1991. View AECOM Article and 2014 CDP Infographic.                                                         
PricewaterhouseCoopers Runs the Numbers On Climate Change.  With every year that passes, we’re getting further away from averting a human-caused climate disaster. That’s the key message in this year’s “Low Carbon Economy Index,” a report released by the accounting giant. The world’s major economies are increasingly failing to do what’s needed to limit global warming to 3.6 degrees F above pre-industrial levels to avoid the most disastrous consequences of runaway warming, including food security threats, coastal inundation, extreme weather events, ecosystem shifts, and widespread species extinction. View Full Article.


As California Warms, Greener Mountains Will Mean Less Water for People. The climate warming expected in this century is likely to result in even less water flow from the mountains, as trees and plants growing higher on the slopes soak up more of the available precipitation. The Sierra Nevada snowpack serves as a natural reservoir that stores precipitation in winter, when the state gets the most, and surrenders it in summer, when the state needs it the most. Climate warming is expected to diminish that natural reservoir by causing more precipitation to fall as rain rather than snow. View Full Report.
Water And Energy Sectors Work Together To Meet Fast Growing Demand. Governments, scientists, civil society and private sector representatives have gathered in Stockholm at a global conference to discuss challenges and possible solutions to meet global demand for water and energy, which are expected to rise by 55 percent and 70 percent respectively by 2050 as the world’s population grows. Water and energy are highly interdependent because water is required to produce almost all forms of energy. At the same time, energy is needed to pump, treat and distribute water. View Full Article.

Upcoming Events

Residential and Commercial Energy Financing Workshop. October 8, 2014, 8:00am-12:00pm. 1666 North Main Street, Walnut Creek, CA, Third Floor Conference Room. Please join fellow Contra Costa County decision makers to hear about Legislative and Program updates, resources and funding, and hear from other cities as they share best practices and examples of how to make use of PACE financing. You’ll hear from various local governments who are making this important solar financing option available to their communities! View Detailed Announcement. RSVP to or   925-631-0597.
Climate Communities Webinars.  Every Thursday at 2 pm Eastern time on energy and climate topics of interest to local governments. Register to Participate in Webinars.  View Archived Webinars.
Contra Costa County Transportation Work Public Meetings. Join CCTA at a public workshop to hear more about the 25 year Countywide Transportation Plan process and give your feedback. View the CCTA public process website for more information.  Scheduled workshops:
-Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 1:30pm: Richmond Convention Center, Bermuda Room (enter from Nevin St.), 403 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond.
-Monday, September 22, 2014 at 7pm: Hercules Community Center (Gym), 2001 Refugio Valley Road, Hercules.
-Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at 6pm: Telephone Town Hall - Dial 877-229-8493 and pin #1126642 when prompted.
Coastal Cleanup 2014: Location- Worldwide. September 20th. Encourage your community to volunteer at this annual event, a worldwide effort to spend the morning cleaning trash off our local beaches and waterways and collecting data about the trash for researchers. “In 2013, over 58,000 volunteers removed almost 750,000 pounds of trash and recyclables from California’s beaches, lakes, and waterways,” notes the California Coastal Commission’s website. Visit the Coastal Cleanup website to find a cleanup near your community and register to help. View article more information.
Portfolio Manager 101 Webinar. Tuesday, September 23, 2014 10:00 am PDT. Get started using EPA’s Portfolio Manager tool. We’ll introduce and demonstrate the core functionality of the Portfolio Manager tool, including how to enter properties, enter energy and water data, share data with others, and generate performance reports.
Portfolio Manager 201 Webinar. Wednesday, September 24, 2014 10:00 am PDT.  Take a deeper dive into the more advanced functionalities of Portfolio Manager such as managing changes in property uses over time, using spreadsheet templates to quickly upload data, setting goals, and creating custom reports.
Designing Cities. San Francisco, California, October 22 - 25, 2014. This conference, sponsored by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), convenes transportation leaders and practitioners from across the country to discuss key trends in urban street design and transportation policy. Themes will include re-imagining rights-of-way, economic benefits of sustainable streets, bike and car sharing, pedestrian and bicyclist safety, and strategies to create temporary public spaces using low-cost materials. View Conference Website.
Bay Area Climate Webinars. Missed the recent Bay Area Climate & Energy Resilience Project (BACERP) climate adaptation webinars? Recordings and slides are now available here. More BACERP webinars are coming in the Fall. Sign up today via email
-Governing California through Climate Change. July 24, 2014. Staff from California's Little Hoover Commission (LHC) discussed key recommendations from the LHC's hot-off-the-presses report to the Governor and the Legislature on climate adaptation and governance. See attached Executive Summary or download the Full Report.
-Our Coast, Our Future's New Mapping Tool. August 27 & September 3, 2014. OCOF staff demonstrated this new, state-of-the-art planning tool and answered your questions. The tool will help Bay Area planners understand, visualize, and anticipate LOCAL coastal and bayside climate change impacts. More information.  
-Hazard Mitigation Planning and Climate Adaptation July 17, 2014. [slides only] Representatives presented the City of Berkeley’s 2014 Hazard Mitigation Plan with climate impacts included and the Association of Bay Area Governments’ regional hazard mitigation planning process and preview of the 2016 hazard plan. 

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Contra Costa County Climate Leaders (4CL)
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Moraga, CA 94570

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