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Sonoma County Emissions Down in 2011

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Have Fallen 14% in Three Years

Santa Rosa – Sonoma County greenhouse gas emissions totaled 3.8 million tons in 2011, according to a new report by the Climate Protection Campaign. This marks a reduction of 170,000 tons from the previous year and 600,000 tons from the county’s high mark in 2008.

“We might actually make it to our 2015 target, but it’s going to take a lot of dedication and work,” said Climate Protection Campaign Executive Director Ann Hancock.

In 2005, Sonoma County and its nine cities each pledged to reduce the emissions that cause climate change by 25 percent below the 1990 level by 2015, the most aggressive target in the U.S. at the time.

The study covers the past twelve years of emissions from four sectors – electricity, transportation, natural gas and solid waste. The biggest reduction in the past year was in the electricity sector, where a cleaner electricity mix led to less pollution.  Increased output from large hydropower stations due to more rain, more renewable energy, and reduced electricity consumption appear to be the major factors driving emission reductions. Transportation emissions were down slightly as well, likely due to people responding to high gas prices by driving less.

“From this report we can see the powerful impact of taking fossil fuel out of our electricity generation – a harbinger of the huge opportunity with Sonoma Clean Power, our top initiative,” noted Hancock. “Using green energy to rebuild our economy is the future. Continuing to reduce emissions can boost our economic rebound.”

The new data analysis by the Climate Protection Campaign also included the agricultural sector for the first time. Livestock were responsible for about 430,000 tons of the County’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Hancock also made the caveat that emission calculations at the community scale, while based on accepted protocol, are imprecise. Nonetheless they still reveal large trends.

The Climate Protection Campaign released the data at the Sonoma County Strategies for Sustainability conference.

Since 2001 the Climate Protection Campaign has worked with government, business, youth and the broader community to advance practical, science-based solutions for significant greenhouse gas reductions. We create model programs for communities everywhere.

For the Press Democrat story on this report: Greenhouse gas emissions down again in Sonoma County

Posted: November 13, 2012

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Ann Hancock