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Who is Standing together for the Future? Find out here!

Climate protection: Standing together for the future

Greenhouse gas emission inventories for eight cities in Sonoma County, California September 2003

As local elected officials, we accept the challenge presented by global climate change. People gave us their vote and entrusted us to act on behalf of the future as well as the present. We want to inspire people in this community and worldwide. We promise to help create innovative solutions to improve our quality of life, save money, and protect the climate. Please join us in this vital pursuit.

Sonoma County Elected Officials

Thanks to the visionary leadership of our local elected officials, Sonoma County is taking precedent-setting action to address global climate change. Last year, all nine cities and the County pledged by resolution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This year, all completed inventories of the emissions associated with their municipal operations buildings, traffic signals, streetlights, fleets, employee commutes, water, wastewater, and solid waste. Sonoma County is the first in the nation to have met these milestones. The next step is to set emission reduction targets, develop a plan for achieving them, and implement emission-reduction actions.

Tell Your Elected Representatives
What You Think About Climate Protection

Every year, the operations of Sonomas nine cities and the County put nearly 90,000 tons of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, according to results of the just-completed emissions inventory. This represents a volume of gas a mile in diameter and about 12 feet thick. Put another way, if garbage trucks could haul this greenhouse gas away, it would take 14, 783 trucks. The City of Santa Rosa and the County of Sonoma account for about 87 percent of the total amount, while the other cities combined equal the remaining 13 percent.

People often ask, With a huge global problem such a climate change, what real difference do Sonoma Countys actions make?

There are a number of local benefits. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions means reducing energy use from fossil fuel. This saves money, cleans the air, and helps build more livable communities. We also can take pride that our local governments are doing the right thing.

Beyond the local level, trailblazing action inspires other communities to see new possibilities, and encourages them to take bold action, too. Already there are over 550 cities and counties around the world that have also pledged to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, led by the International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives.

Local governments exert great influence over the production of atmospheric pollution through zoning and building codes, for example. Taken together, cities and counties have an enormous overall impact. In the U.S., the importance of local action is especially critical because it partially compensates for our national leaders failure to act.

Many exciting opportunities exist to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For example, replacing selected energy inefficient equipment used for municipal water and wastewater operations can save up to $320 for every ton of greenhouse gas reduced. Cow-powered climate protection can, using proven technology, convert the gas from the 30,000 milking cows in the North Bay to energy. These cows emit approximately 170,000 tons of equivalent carbon dioxide every year.

Sebastopol Councilman Sam Spooner with children Sierra Spooner, age 18, Aaron Spooner, age 13, and Rowan Spooner, age 8

Polls show that most Americans believe that global climate change is happening and that its grave. We want our leaders to take action. We also want a simple explanation of what causes the climate to change. The one that researchers said tested best is, Global warming is caused by a manmade blanket of carbon dioxide that surrounds the Earth and traps in heat.

Because we cant see, feel, smell, or taste it, we have difficulty realizing that greenhouse gas exists, let alone is a serious problem. However, greenhouse gas is real waste. Reducing greenhouse gas pollution provides a key gauge for charting a course to a sustainable future.

Common American values ingenuity, responsibility, stewardship enable us to develop and apply practical solutions to prevent, not just adapt, to global warming. Energy, like spirit, is the invisible, essential life force that affects every part of our lives. Energy is the nexus between the economy, environment, and security. If we get energy right, many significant benefits will follow - for ourselves and for future generations.


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Petaluma City Council Member Pam Torliatt and her three year old neice Savannah Torliatt.

The below reports are in pdf format. Size, number of pages, author and a summary of content are listed next to each title.

  • Summary Report: (448K pdf; 24 pages, Ann Hancock, author) Overview of the Greenhouse Gas Inventory Project and its results.
  • Electricity and Natural Gas Report: (232K pdf; 9 pages; Edward C. Myers, author) Explanation of how electricity and gas usage are converted to greenhouse gas emissions, how this information was reported and can be used, and a discussion of strategies for reducing electricity use.
  • Water and Wastewater Report: (631K pdf; 28 pages; John Rosenblum, PhD, author) In-depth evaluation of emissions associated with water use and wastewater generation. Contact John at:
  • Methodology Supplement to the Water and Wastewater Report: (409K pdf; 23 pages; John Rosenblum, PhD, author) Contact John at:
  • Fleets Report: (152K pdf; 4 pages; Simon Wooley, author) Findings from the vehicle fleets sector of the inventory.
  • Employee Commutes Report: (412k pdf; 13 pages; John David Erickson, author) Findings from the employee commute sector of the inventory including description of the web-based data system developed for the project and the methodology for the employee surveys.
  • Solid Waste Report: (116K pdf; 3 pages; Edward C. Myers, author) Finding from the solid waste sector of the inventory.
  • High Performance Climate Protection: (444K pdf; 11 pages; Edwin Orrett, author) Bold ideas to dramatically reduce emissions at the local level
  • Lessons Learned: (available soon; Ann Hancock, author) Description and discussion of project approach.
  • County of Sonoma GHG Analysis (523k pdf)
  • City of Santa Rosa GHG Inventory Report (587k)

Presented as part of a project administered by the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency.
Photos by Scott Hess Photography


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