Spread the Word: Help Businesses in your Community Save Energy and Money. East Bay Energy Watch serves commercial customers within Contra Costa County. PG&E customers are eligible for a no-cost comprehensive energy assessment of their building. Energy Watch professionals make recommendations for cost effective retrofits and improvements that are designed to save money on utility bills. Services and recommendations qualify for cash rebates from PG&E. Select your City from the dropdown menu to find out what services are available. View the EBEW Business Link.
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.
PG&E Offers Cities Reports for Climate Action Planning. These reports help local governments develop more detailed understanding of community and municipal energy usage. Local governments and their representatives can request data for Climate Action Planning free of charge. Click Here to register and access reports.
Join The 90 Communities Statewide That Have Taken Action To Phase Out Single-Use Plastic Bags. Four Contra Costa County cities have an ordinance (Pittsburg, Richmond, El Cerrito and San Pablo), and two more are progressing (Walnut Creek and Martinez). Six of the nine counties in the Bay Area have a plastic bag ordinance. One-third of California residents are living somewhere with a bag ban. Learn more about plastic ban ordinances and how to adopt one in your city: http://www.cccclimateleaders.org/issue-of-the-month/plastic-bag-ordinances.html
EBMUD Asks Its Customers For A 10 Percent Water Use Cutback. The East Bay Municipal Utility District board voted 7-0 Tuesday to join the growing number of Bay Area water districts seeking voluntary cuts during a third consecutive dry rain season. The board is asking its 1.3 million water customers to voluntarily reduce water use by 10 percent but hasn't ruled out the possibility of mandatory cuts later in the year. View the Full Article.
San Francisco Announces New Plan to Fight Climate Change. The city says it is closing in on the goals of its 2004 Climate Action Plan and released its strategy to meet the more stringent goals it set for 2025. San Francisco's newly revised Climate Action Strategy is based on three objectives: 1) Achieve zero waste by 2020 through recycling and composting and reduce the total amount of waste generated, 2) Shift 50% of all trips to non-automobile transportation by 2017; and 80%, by 2030, and 3) Source 100% of residential and 80% of commercial electricity from renewable sources. View the Full Article.
California Interim Goal For Cutting Emissions Recommended. The changes needed to slash emissions enough to reach the 2050 target will be so great that the state should set an interim goal for about 2030, the California Air Resources Board reported. Goals include transformation of its energy sector, which accounts for about half its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; changing the transportation system, which contributes about 38% of the state's GHG emissions; and developing a strategy to cut other pollutants. View the Full Article.
Rapid Population Growth Within Urban Areas Is Leading To Parking Problems. Typical on-street auto parking requires 200 square feet of space per vehicle not including right-of-way for maneuvering, while a parked car in a garage takes up 300 to 450 square feet depending on the specifics of maneuvering aisles and structural design. A citizen using public transport or a bicycle requires only 12 square feet of parking space. This comparison demonstrates how private cars take precious space from the urban fabric of a sustainable and growing city. View the Full Article.
The 5 Greenest Countries on Earth (and the Rest), Ranked. The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) assesses countries for how well they protect people from environmental harm and how well they protect ecosystems from human encroachment. It crunches data for nine categories, from air quality to forest and marine health, using 20 indicators. After Switzerland in top places are Luxembourg, Australia, Singapore, and the Czech Republic. In sixth place, Germany is the first major economy, with the U.K. in 12th. Eighteen of the top 20 countries are in Europe, with Canada in 24th, Japan in 26th, and the U.S. in 33rd. View the Full Article.
EPA Releases Guide for Local Governments on Reducing GHG Emissions through Green Power. EPA has released a new climate and energy strategy guide for local governments, titled Green Power Procurement: A Guide to Developing and Implementing Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs. Green power is a subset of renewable energy produced with no GHG emissions, typically from solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, biomass, or low-impact hydroelectric sources. By substituting green power for conventional electricity, which is produced primarily by combusting fossil fuels and accounts for nearly 33 percent of total U.S. energy-related GHG emissions, local governments and their communities can achieve significant energy, environmental, and economic benefits.
Key Support for Statewide Single-Use Plastic Bag Ban – SB 270. California Senators were joined by representatives of the United Food and Commercial Workers, the California Grocers Association, Environment California, Friends of the L.A. River, Mujeres de La Tierra, Californians Against Waste, and Heal the Bay to announce support for new legislation to ban single-use plastic bags in California grocery stores, convenience stores, and liquor stores. A coalition of environmental, labor, and business groups are supporting SB 270. View the Full Report.
California Nonresidential Building Owners Face New Energy Use Disclosure Requirements. Effective January 1, 2014, owners of nonresidential buildings (including cities and counties) of 10,000 square feet or more must disclose energy use information to prospective purchasers, lessees and lenders. Owners of nonresidential buildings 5,000 square feet or more can look forward to the same disclosure obligations beginning July 1, 2014. AB 1103 establishes a benchmarking system for building energy consumption with the goal of motivating building owners to improve energy efficiency. AB 1103 mandates disclosure of a Data Verification Checklist containing a building's energy score, which is generated by the EPA's online ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. View the Full Article. View the EPA Portfolio Manager Website.
Obama Planning $1 Billion Climate Protection Fund. The new Climate Resilience Fund is intended to finance research into better understanding of projected impacts of climate change and how to better protect communities and infrastructure. It is also designed to help vulnerable communities plan and prepare for the impacts of climate change and to encourage local measures to reduce risk and to fund resilient technologies and infrastructure to combat a warming climate. View the Full Article.
Drought Conditions Could Raise Risk of West Nile Virus. In drought years, dried up creeks and rivers can lead to the presence of scattered and still water puddles, which act as ideal spots for female mosquitoes to lay their eggs, Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District spokeswoman Deborah Bass explained in the district's January newsletter. These leftover puddles become important sources of water for birds and other creatures, resulting in many birds (which can carry West Nile virus) and mosquitoes (which can transmit the virus to humans) being placed in close proximity, she said. View the Full Article.
17 California communities could run out of water within 60 to 120 days. In some communities, wells are running dry. In others, reservoirs are nearly empty. Some have long-running problems that predate the drought. The water systems, all in rural areas, serve from 39 to 11,000 residents. They range from the tiny Lompico County Water District in Santa Cruz County to districts that serve the cities of Healdsburg and Cloverdale in Sonoma County. View the Full Article.
83 Percent Want Action on Global Warming, Even With 'Economic Costs'. A new survey conducted in November and December showed that a majority of Americans believe the United States should take action on climate change, regardless of whether it comes with a price tag, according to the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and George Mason Center for Climate Change, which carried out the study. View the Full Article.
How Climate Change Is Transforming The Wine Industry. So far, rising temperatures have been mostly good for wine. Warmer, longer growing seasons have allowed grapes to stay on the vine longer, producing fruit that results in stronger, bolder wines with higher alcohol content. Last year an international team of scientists showed that by 2050, some of the world’s most famous wine-making regions, including Tuscany in Italy, will shrink by nearly 70 percent. View the Full Article.
Nuclear Fusion Hits Energy Milestone. Researchers at the National Ignition Facility of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory announced that they managed to use lasers to compress fuel made from two heavier forms of hydrogen enough to kick off a nuclear fusion reaction. And for the first time, the reaction managed to generate more energy than was absorbed by the fuel from the lasers. Scientists and futurists have long dreamed of harnessing the energy of nuclear fusion, which powers the sun. An enormous amount of energy is released when multiple atoms collide and fuse to form a new heavier atom. Hydrogen fuel is plentiful in sources such as seawater and the fusion process generates no radioactive waste, greenhouse gases or other dangerous byproducts. View the Full Article.
IPCC Publishes Full 2013 Report on Climate Change. Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, human influence on the climate system is clear, and limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. These are the key conclusions from an assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that was released on January 31st in its full and finalized form. View the Full Article. Download the 2013 IPCC Report.
Joint Conference: Bay Area Flood Protection Agencies Association (BAFPAA) and Bay Area Watershed Network (BAWN). Elihu M. Harris State Office Building, Room 1 (second floor), 1515 Clay Street, Oakland. 8:30 am to 4 pm, February 20th. Registration fee: $12 cash for coffee, juice, bagels and pastries upon arrival and also lunch (sandwich, chips, cookie and drink). Contact Carl Morrison by email: email@example.com or phone (760) 724-9580 for registration and more information.
Climate Leadership Conference. San Diego. February 24-26, 2014. An annual exchange for addressing global climate change through policy, innovation, and business solutions. Join leaders from business, government, academia, and the non-profit community to share energy and climate related solutions, introduce new opportunities, and provide support for those addressing climate change in their operations. Learn More and 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.
From Parking to Paradise: An Evening with Professor Donald Shoup. Berkeley, CA. March 19, 2014. Renowned urban planner Donald Shoup, UCLA professor and the leading expert on parking policy gives a fascinating and eye-opening talk about how we can rethink parking and revolutionize our cities in terms of the environment, economy, and social justice. Details and Registration Information.
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.
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 www.cccclimateleaders.org