July 25 2013

Climate Actions Plans Grow in Acceptance in Sonoma County

Petaluma Boulevard South Interchange Bridge in Petaluma, California

While support for climate protection has become fairly ubiquitous in Sonoma County, only one of its nine cities has implemented an official Climate Action Plan (CAP). To be fair, the other eight have adopted sustainability-related ordinances into their municipal codes such as integrated green building standardswater efficiency measures, and rideshare programsRecently however, the Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority (RCPA) began developing an implementation program that will lead to each jurisdiction having their own CAP, consistent with California’s State Senate Bill 375.

The nature of the RCPA’s plan, otherwise known as Climate Action 2020, is to present each jurisdiction with a “menu” of greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction policies that are compliant with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Once implemented, these policies will help achieve the goal of reducing GHG emissions by 25% below 1990 levels by 2020. Environmental benefits aside, Climate Action 2020 is project management at its finest.

Initial Development

Public Outreach

Environmental Documentation 

  • Complete an Environmental Impact Report for Climate Action 2020 that is compliant with CEQA;.
  • Conduct scoping meetings with stakeholders and the public; and
  • Finalize EIR based on public comment.

Field of mustard grass outside Windsor, California

Opponents of climate action plans believe they are a waste of money and resources, and that they will take away the power of local governments to regulate themselves. This is ironic, however, as the whole nature of a plan is to incorporate all municipalities into the process so that there is more of a consensus.

Plans are iterative and require constant revision, amendments, hearings, and more revisions. Climate Action 2020 will be no different, but with proper planning a positive climate change could become a reality sooner than we think.

Is your local government taking an active stance on the issue of climate change?

Credits: Top image by Watch Sonoma County. Bottom image by Nick Danty. Data linked to sources.

Nick Danty

Nick Danty is a graduate of the Geography and Planning Department at California State University, Chico and currently works at the Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority (RCPA) in Santa Rosa. Nick has been involved in several programs at RCPA, but is most proud of the 2013 Bicycle and Pedestrian Count Project, for which he served as the project manager and outreach coordinator. A Northern California native who calls his single-family detached dwelling home, Nick is not a stranger to the ills of suburban sprawl and the toll it takes on human and physical environments. Nick’s travels to Europe and throughout North America have shown him preventing and retrofitting sprawl is possible through intelligent neighborhood design, beautiful architecture, mitigation banking, innovative transit systems and visionary urban and rural plans. He is very excited about writing for The Grid, and plans on discussing projects and programs happening at his agency related to transportation planning, climate adaptation, livability, urban land development, and environmental conservation.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, July 25th, 2013 at 9:09 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Energy, Environment, Government/Politics, Land Use, Transportation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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