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,
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  

May 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 helps local governments answer questions about energy efficiency. View the EBEW website for more information. View the 4CL Website for Benchmarking Fact Sheet.


U.S. DOE Grants Available to Help Communities Boost Solar Deployment. Concept Paper Deadline May 30, 2014; Application Deadline July 3, 2014. DOE has announced the availability of $15 million to help communities develop multi-year solar plans to install affordable solar electricity for homes and businesses as part of the DOE’s SunShot Initiative. Specifically, DOE is looking for plans that address the net benefits and costs of solar electricity, commercial property-assessed clean energy, shared solar, and/or plans that incorporate solar in emergency response efforts. View the DOE Announcement.
U.S. Department of Energy and Georgetown University Announces Competition for Energy Efficiency in Local Communities. The winning community will receive $5 M.  Due June 30, 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

Pleasant Hill Solicits Input From Residents on Proposed Plastic Bag Ordinance.  The City is considering an ordinance to prohibit single-use (plastic) carryout bags in all retail stores including restaurants.  Consumers will have the option to bring their own reusable bags, pay for paper bags, or opt not to use a bag to carry goods from the store. Residents can complete the online survey and provide feedback. View the City of Pleasant Hill Plastic Bag Website.
San Francisco Appoints the World's First Chief Resilience Officer. The City of San Francisco has created a position for the world's first chief resilience officer. The position is part of the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge, which will invest $100 million to fund 100 specialists around the world to make cities more resilient and sustainable in the face of global changes. View Full Article.
Water-Use Penalties Hit Pleasanton and Other Bay Area Cities. A debate has ignited in Pleasanton after leaders declared a "local drought emergency" and laid out some of the strictest water restrictions in the Bay Area: a 25 percent mandatory cut over past use, with stiff fines for violators. Pleasanton's limits are based on what a customer consumed the previous year. Critics say the program unfairly burdens households that have long practiced conservation. View the Article.
California Drought, Unseasonable Weather Worsen Fire Season. Crews battled intense brush fires around San Diego as officials warned that the state's severe drought could lead to more outbreaks like the torrent of blazes that have ripped through parts of the county. In April, Governor Brown issued a second executive order to help deal with the state’s drought, in an effort to help prevent wildfires and assist cities and farmers. The order came a month after he signed $687.4 million worth of legislation to assist drought-affected communities and provide funding to better use local water supplies. View Full Article.


Other City News

Local, State Governments Lead Way On Global Warming. Over the last 15 years, state and local officials have quietly worked to redefine their visions of healthy communities to include responsible behavior in the face of climate change. Since 2000, 32 states and more than 130 cities have implemented climate action plans.  Many of these communities have managed to meet the emissions reductions stipulated by the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which the U.S. as a nation has thus far failed to ratify. View Full Article.
ICLEI’s ClearPath Online Software for Local Governments. ClearPath is the next generation of ICLEI’s online software for local governments, replacing the CACP tool. ClearPath is a cloud-based platform that allows the user to visualize your current and future emissions, and easily carry out sophisticated analysis to determine the right mix of policies to meet emissions reduction goals. ClearPath is to all local governments in California through a partnership with the State. View the Tool.  View the Pre-Recorded Webinar.
Washington State Inching Closer To a Price on Carbon. On April 29, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed an executive order to address carbon pollution and take action on clean energy. The order establishes a Carbon Emissions Reductions Taskforce and addresses other clean energy issues including transportation, energy efficiency, out-of-state coal-fired electricity, clean technology research and development, and greening state government operations.  The taskforce will provide recommendations on the design and implementation of a cap on carbon emissions. View Full Article.
Dunedin First City in New Zealand to Divest from Fossil Fuels on Ethical Grounds. Dunedin City Council announced it intends to withdraw investment in fossil fuels companies that contribute to climate change, as part of its new ethical investment policy. Dunedin, the second-largest city on the South Island, has decided to add oil, gas and coal companies to the list of investment exclusions in its portfolio. View Full Article.



EBMUD Taps Sacramento River Water for First Time to Avoid Rationing.  The East Bay Municipal Utility District decided to use voluntary conservation and tap a new water supply from the Sacramento River to get through the year without rationing. The district will continue to ask its 1.3 million customers in Contra Costa and Alameda counties to cut water use 10 percent, a target they met in April. The board also decided to make the district's first-ever use of emergency water from the Sacramento River. In April and May, the water district will pump in 16,000 acre feet of water, a 32-day supply. View Full Article.
California’s Drought Shapes Debate Over Fracking. The drought, combined with a recent set of powerful earthquakes, has provided the momentum for about a dozen local governments across California to vote to restrict or prohibit fracking in their jurisdictions. At the same time, SB 1132, a bill that would declare a statewide moratorium on fracking has been gathering support in the State Senate. View Full Article. On May 19th, as hundreds of California citizens waited for a chance to speak, SB 1132 moved into 'suspense' and will be considered by the Appropriations Committee for vote before the full Senate after deliberations conclude. See Blog Report.
Help Support Sustainability Funding for Localities. The Senate Appropriations Committee’s proposal included $550 million in funding for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)’s TIGER grant program to support a wide variety of transportation projects in FY 2014 including bridges, public transit and railroads, and $75 million for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Integrated Planning and Investment grants, part of the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities. The House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee did not include any funding for the Partnership for Sustainable Communities.  We ask local elected leaders to contact their Members of Congress and urge them to protect funding for these important programs.
Report: Climate Change Is Here and Getting Worse. Climate change is affecting where and how Americans live and work as well as their health. Evidence is mounting that burning fossil fuels has made extreme weather such as heat waves and heavy precipitation much more likely, according to the National Climate Assessment. President Obama met with meteorologists television outlets to spread the word about the importance of the report. "This is not some distant problem of the future. …This is a problem that is affecting Americans right now." The administration is expanding its climate initiative, launched last year, with rules to limit carbon emissions from power plants. In June, the EPA is expected to finalize limits, proposed last year, on new plants and to set standards for existing ones. View Full Article.


Climate Change Threatens California's Air Quality. Climate change and extreme weather could set back decades of improvement in California’s air quality, a new report by the state’s pollution control officers says. A higher number of extreme heat days from global warming will boost smog formation and increase severe wildfires that release harmful smoke into the air. Thirteen basins in California did not meet federal standards for ozone in 2013. Ozone and fine particulate matter, the microscopic soot, are the two main air pollutants that continue to plague California. View Full Article.
Generals Dub Climate Change a Security Risk. A new report from a panel of former Pentagon leaders calls climate change a direct threat to national security and the U.S. economy, as extreme weather stands to stretch troops thin, spark unrest in unstable regions, and unravel global networks of trade and resources. The authors, 16 retired three- and four-star generals and admirals who compose the CNA Corporation’s Military Advisory Board, blame a warming planet for, in part, aggravating tensions among some nations. Their study, released Tuesday night, dubs climate change “a catalyst for conflict” against a backdrop of increasingly decentralized power structures around the world. View Full Story.


Obama Highlights Climate Push with New Energy Initiatives. Appearing at a Wal-Mart store in Mountain View, California, President Obama announced a series of steps to boost energy efficiency and advance solar priorities in an effort to underscore green-job creation and combat carbon pollution. Obama said generating more clean energy and wasting less overall is good for consumers and the economy. "Together, the commitments we're announcing today prove that there are cost-effective ways to tackle climate change and create jobs at the same time”. "Rising sea levels, drought, more wildfires, more severe storms, those are bad for the economy. So we can't afford to wait. " Obama said. View Full Article.
Investing in Place for Economic Growth and Competitiveness.  The American Planning Association found that both Millenials and Baby Boomers think that quality of life (transportation options, affordability, parks, local vitality, etc) is more important than job prospects and economic health in choosing where to live. Additionally, fewer than 10% of the respondents indicated that they want to live in an auto-dependent suburb; most would prefer to live in areas with walkability, access to transit, and proximity to key resources. View the Full Report.
Who Will Pay For Climate Change? Not Us, Insurer Says. Andrew Logan looks at the insurance industry for Ceres, a non-profit that coordinates private-sector efforts to address climate change. “I think what the insurers are saying is: ‘We’re in the business of covering unforeseen risks. Things that are basically accidents,’” Logan says. “‘But we’re now at a point with the science where climate change is now a foreseeable risk.’” View the Article.



Climate Change Increasing Massive Wildfires in West. Massive wildfires are on the increase in the Western USA due to rising temperatures and worsening drought from climate change, and the trend could continue in the decades to come, new research suggests. The number of large wildfires increased by a rate of seven fires a year from 1984 to 2011, while the total area damaged by fire increased at a rate of nearly 90,000 acres per year, according to the study in a journal of the American Geophysical Union. The study comes against the backdrop of what could to be a disastrous year for fires in the West, especially drought-plagued California, which even saw fires in the normally quiet month of January. View Full Article.
Solar Farms Transforming Superfund Sites. A 43-acre solar farm is generating power on the site of a former coal-tar refinery plant in Indiana, making it the nation's largest solar farm built on a Superfund site. Construction of the solar farm enabled the overall remediation plan to move forward while involving little of the conventional, fuel-sucking process of soil excavation and removal. The solar farm was created as part of the EPA's Superfund Redevelopment Program, which has helped install 85 renewable energy projects on Superfund sites, landfills, and old mining sites in the nation. View Full Article.


Upcoming Events

Portfolio Manager 101. Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 1:00 pm EDT  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, May 28, 2014 at 1:00 pm EDT  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.
Climate Communities Webinars.  Every Thursday at 2 pm Eastern time on energy and climate topics of interest to local governments.
May 1 - Heating Up!: $15 Million Available to Help Communities Boost Solar Deployment
May 8 - The Economic Impacts of Low-Impact Development
May 15 - Share and Share Alike: The Benefits of Community Shared Solar
May 22 - Evaluating Your Community's Energy Efficiency Progress
Register to Participate in Webinars.  View Archived Webinars.
Smart Growth California Statewide Funder Convening. Berkeley, California, June 3 - 5, 2014
Many states are tracking the implementation of California's landmark sustainable communities legislation, SB 375, as a potential model to emulate across the country. This meeting will take stock of California's innovative initiatives to reform land use and transportation—the successes and challenges, the lessons learned, and opportunities for the future. Register to Attend.

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. Register to Attend.

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.

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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