Greenhouse gas emissions declined in Sonoma County in 2011 for the third straight year, reflecting an expansion of renewable energy sources and a down economy, which lowered demand for power and transportation. Still, Sonoma County’s goal of reducing emissions 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2015 remains elusive, officials said Tuesday.
The Santa Rosa City Council has adopted a sweeping plan that tries to strike a balance between meeting aggressive greenhouse gas emission goals and minimizing the burdens on local businesses. The Climate Action Plan is meant to serve as a road map for how the city can meet its state-mandated goals and local emission reduction targets by 2020 and beyond.
Ann Hancock is laboring to reduce the output of automobile exhaust and other greenhouse gases in Sonoma County. She knows some people have doubts about whether even the county’s best efforts will have any impact on global warming. Why bother? See how she answers in this installment of “Sonoma Stories,” a series of profiles on people in our community.
A move by Sonoma County government into the role of power supplier to homes and businesses would come with trade-offs, according to a new study. The average ratepayer would pay more for electricity — $4 to $10 a month — for power provided by the county, compared to PG&E. But greenhouse gas emissions would fall and the new agency would create jobs. The supes take up the report on Tuesday.
The list of environmental requirements that Sutter Health must meet to build its planned $284 million hospital north of Santa Rosa grew Tuesday. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors tentatively added a condition envisioned to help further offset greenhouse gas emissions linked to the hospital’s development and operation.
The county government has cut its greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent below 2000 levels, exceeding the goal it set four years ago. The gains came mostly from the $22.3 million the county poured recently into renewable power projects and building upgrades.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions has long been a priority for Santa Rosa. In 2005, the city set aggressive goals of reducing emissions to year 2000 levels by 2010, and to 1990 levels by 2020. Is it working? The city has no idea. But it hopes to know the answer soon.
California timber firms, including a leading North Coast company, could emerge as big winners in the state’s fight against global warming, earning tens of millions of dollars through the sale of carbon credits if a new set of rules is approved today by the state Air Resources Board. The plan has stoked controversy among environmentalists who assert it gives the timber industry too good a deal, enabling them to clear cut at the expense of the overall vitality of the forests.
The Board of Supervisors has adopted an ambitious plan that would create a nearly 800-mile network of trails, bike lanes and road crossings designed for pedestrians and bikes. The $250 million plan is designed to improve routes for non-motorized travelers while reducing auto trips and greenhouse gases.
Greenhouse gas emissions dropped 3 percent in Sonoma County last year. But the decline was caused by the economic slump, not conservation efforts, according to a report issued Thursday. “Nothing we’ve done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has really had any effect,” one analyst says.