MARIN-SONOMA

MARIN-SONOMA

Marin and Sonoma are neighboring California counties located in the Northern San Francisco Bay Area. Marin is known for its natural beauty, Sonoma for its agriculture, and particularly for its wine production. The two counties have a combined population of around 750 thousand people, with Sonoma having about two thirds of that. Sonoma and Marin are some of the richest and most expensive counties in the United States with Marin #8 on CNBC’s list of America’s richest counties. They are both extremely diverse ecologically, home to ocean beaches, salt marshes, coastal scrub, grasslands, chaparral, redwood forest, and oak and pine forests.

Due to climate change, the Bay’s sea level has increased by 8 inches in the last 100 years. In 2015-2016, El Nino storms created waves with more than 50% more energy than average, causing unprecedented beach erosion, compounding the effects of sea level rise. The Bay is also experiencing more “boom and bust” rain cycles with very wet and very dry years. Although the drought in 2015-2016 forced moisture levels down to the lowest it’s been in 1,000 years, Marin and Sonoma are still seeing extreme flooding exacerbated by storm surges, as well as sea level rise. Floods and storms are causing significant damage not just to public and private property, but to beaches, wetlands, and riparians areas already under attack by the changing climate. Storm surges have caused overflow at wastewater treatment facilities, which can spill into the sea harming people and wildlife alike. Storms and rising seas also threaten electrical grids and natural gas pipelines bringing greater socioeconomic and health inequality.

The Bay Area which Marin and Sonoma are a part of are also already experiencing a significant rise in temperature and the harmful effects that follow such a rise. Since 1950, the temperature  has risen by 1.7°F creating more energy usage, even along the traditionally cool coast. This increase in energy usage leads to adverse health effects from increased pollution and disease.

What’s more, over the past 80 years, the Bay Area has seen steadily more large fires with no end in sight. Fires are devastating to threatened upland birds, mammals and amphibians. The combination of changing rain cycles, temperatures, and fire frequency is causing animals to get out of sync with their environments, leading to population declines.

Through 2016, Marin’s Climate Action Plan created a 21% reduction of emissions below 1990 levels and continues to implement programs to lessen its carbon footprint. The county has a webpage called Drawdown: Marin providing information to county residents about Marin’s actions to achieve greenhouse gas emissions reductions. In early 2020, Marin hosted a community workshop and meeting for the Marin Climate Action Plan update, during which citizens helped identify the county’s path forward with a vision towards 2030 and beyond.

Marin County was also the first in the state to enroll all of its county and city accounts in Marin Clean Energy’s, a 100% renewable electricity program begun in October of 2018. Marin Clean Energy supplies customers with 50% to 100% renewable energy as a green alternative to PG&E. Marin Clean Energy has three energy packages so customers can choose how their energy is generated. The least sustainable plan uses 60% renewables, and the other two plans use 100% renewable energy. Marin consumes 51% of its energy in non-residential sectors and 49% in the residential sector.

Sonoma’s climate plan, Climate Action 2020 and Beyond, is focused on putting the county on a path towards a goal of emissions at 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. The plan also provides information about local climate hazards and what Sonoma County communities can do to adapt. The plan attacks greenhouse gas emissions in a multitude of ways, focusing on energy efficiency, renewable energy use, reduction of travel demand, low carbon transportation, capture of methane from landfills, recycled water use, reduced livestock emissions, sustainable agriculture, and even carbon sequestration. Sonoma’s Regional Climate Protection Authority is helping the county reach its goals by leading plan implementation and supporting local actions through grant funding, research, technical assistance, outreach, and education

87% of eligible electricity users in Sonoma use Sonoma Clean Power, a non-profit public agency based in Santa Rosa, Sonoma’s largest city, supplying them with 42% hydroelectric energy, 23% wind power, 18% geothermal, 7.6% solar, and 10% biomass combined with power from California’s main power grid. The rest of Sonoma’s residents rely on Pacific Gas and Electric’s power, which uses 78% clean energy. Sonoma’s energy goes to 57% non-residential uses and 43% residential uses

In Sonoma County, a plea for action on climate change as fires rage

CURRENT NEWS

PLANS TO ACCELERATE RENEWABLES

San Rafael Climate Change Action Plan 2030

08/20/20
San Rafael has a rich history of climate action and environmental protection. Mayor Al Boro signed on to the Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement in 2006.

Climate Action 2020 and Beyond

08/20/20
Climate Action 2020 and Beyond builds on prior commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through a community-wide climate action plan (CAP) for all communities in Sonoma County. The regional framework creates an efficient and consistent…

Renewable Energy

03/31/20
The County of Sonoma has adopted changes to the Zoning Code that enable the construction and use of renewable energy facilities throughout the county, while protecting sensitive resources and ensuring neighborhood compatibility. These changes became…

KEY RESOURCES

Welcome to the county climate action plan workshop

08/24/20
2019 was the second hottest year on record.

California electricity commission

08/20/20
Electricity Consumption by County.

CLIMATE CHANGE

08/20/20
Marin County is a vulnerable community when it comes to climate change, particularly due to rising sea levels, changing storm patterns, and fragile ecosystems. Marin is already experiencing the effects of extreme flooding, exacerbated by…

MCE is excited to welcome Solano County residents and businesses

04/01/20
In April 2020, MCE will become the primary electricity provider for unincorporated Solano County. We hope to meet you in person at one of our Solano Community Meetings. Options to attend meetings remotely and access…

Making a Difference in Your World

04/01/20
We’re working to solve climate change. For you. For families. For businesses. For everybody. From providing clean energy to pilot programs for energy saving technologies, we’ve got options that make a difference in your life.…

Environmental Organizations

04/01/20
CAFE is a non-profit {501(c)3} education, advocacy and research organization serving the North Coast region of California.Our primary mission is to educate, engage and empower the public regarding sustainability and the environment.

SUSTAINABLE MARIN

04/01/20
Sustainable Marin is a non-profit organization of volunteers who advocate and educate about sustainability at the County level in Marin.

Energy and Sustainability

04/01/20
The Energy and Sustainability Division is part of the General Services Department of the County of Sonoma. This division is responsible for planning, evaluating and administering the County-wide Energy Management and Sustainability Program.

Sonoma County Commits To Becoming The First 100% Sustainable Wine Region In The Nation In 2019

04/01/20
In January 2014, Sonoma County Winegrowers announced it would become the nation’s first 100% certified sustainable wine region. The Sonoma County Sustainability Program helps to preserve agriculture and multi-generational family farms. Sonoma County is largely…

MORE NEWS

Irvine is one of 3 cities in state to win $1 million to combat climate change

By Ben Brazil  Photo: Raul Roa   10/28/21  
After taking part in a statewide competition, Irvine has been awarded $1-million worth of funding to help achieve its ambitious goal to have a zero-carbon economy by 2030.

Petaluma solar company cashes in federal energy grant

By Viva Sheth  Photo: Crissy Pascual/argus-courier Staff   10/18/21  
Petaluma’s r&d lab, as indicated by its name, started with research and development of several products to create more renewable and accessible sources of energy.

When it comes to power, Sonoma prefers sustainability

By Chase Hunter   10/18/21  
Climate change is the heart of many Sonoma residents’ concerns, and most of them are putting their money where their mouth is, according to data from Sonoma Clean Power. Sonoma Clean Power options have been…

Cal Fire gives nearly $1 million for fire safety in Sonoma Valley

By Christian Kallen  Photo: Robbi Pangelly   09/21/21  
The Sonoma Valley Wildlands Collaborative has received a Cal Fire California Climate Investments Fire Prevention grant of $934,286 to fund an additional three years of hazardous wildfire fuels reduction and planning in Sonoma Valley, announced…

How Napa And Sonoma County Winemakers Are Responding To Climate Change

By Wendy Lee  Photo: Larkmead Vineyards   09/17/21  
As one of the premier winemaking regions in the world, the California winemakers of Napa and Sonoma counties are deeply concerned about the impacts of climate change on their vineyards, and ultimately on the quality…

$5 million to fight climate change on Highway 37

By Christian Kallen  Photo: John Burgess , The Press Democrat   09/17/21  
The solution to traffic and infrastructure woes along State Route 37, popularly known as Highway 37 between Novato and Vallejo, is aided by $5 million added to the pending state budget bill, Senate Bill 170.…

Bay Area winemakers are feeling climate change more acutely than ever this harvest season

By Esther Mobley  Photo: Jessica Christian , The Chronicle   09/16/21  
This year's wine harvest is well underway throughout California, and vintners in some parts of the state say they're feeling the effects of climate change more acutely than ever.

Close to Home: Drive less to combat climate change

By Willis Richards and Richard Sachen  Photo: Diana Vucane , Shutterstock   09/06/21  
Sonoma County aims to be a leader in the battle to cope with the climate crisis. Our Regional Climate Protection Authority seeks to have “net-zero” greenhouse gas emissions within the next nine years — by…

Sonoma’s climate change commitment on the spot

By Christian Kallen  Photo: Robbi Pangell   08/27/21  
The commitment of the City of Sonoma to its own climate goals, as articulated in the 2020 Climate Plan and the 2020 Declaration of a Climate Emergency, runs up against a deadline for compliance with…

Sonoma Clean Power Debuts Advanced Energy Center in Downtown Santa Rosa

By Sonoma Clean Power   06/15/21  
Sonoma Clean Power (SCP) has officially opened the Advanced Energy Center in downtown Santa Rosa. The Advanced Energy Center, made possible in part through a grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC), creates an interactive…

California’s biggest heat wave of the year heightens drought and fire fears

By Hayley Smith and Lila Seidman  Photo: Al Seib , Los Angeles Times   06/12/21  
With a worsening drought gripping the West and wildfire season looming, California is bracing for the most severe heat wave of the year — one that promises to tax the state’s power supplies while also…

Can bud grafting help vintners stand their ground with climate change?

By Peg Melnik   06/11/21  
A plant surgeon of sorts, Marcelo Robledo cuts into a vine with precision. After adding a pinot noir bud to fill the incision, he bandages it up for its metamorphosis.

Marin officials: Bridge water pipeline could be permanent

By Will Houston   06/09/21  
Officials are raising the prospect of a permanent water pipeline over the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge as a potential drought-fighting strategy for Marin County.

Marin County ag deal protects land for Hog Island oyster operation, beef production

By Heather Irwin  Photo: Paige Green   06/04/21  
It’s no coincidence that grass fed beef burgers are usually on the menu at Hog Island Oyster Company restaurants.

Drought: MMWD might suspend water hookups, complicating housing

By Will Houston  Photo: Sherry LaVars , Marin Independent Journal   05/19/21  
The Marin Municipal Water District might temporarily ban new service hookups for the first time in nearly three decades in response to historic drought conditions.

Sebastopol council endorses Climate-Safe California Campaign goals

By Camille Escovedo  Photo by Camille Escovedo   03/09/21  
The city of Sebastopol united with 700 other agencies, nonprofits and electeds to advocate for bolstering state action on climate change at the March 2 city council meeting by passing a resolution to endorse the…

California city bans construction of new gas stations in climate-fight first

03/04/21  
A Northern California city is believed to be the first in the country to ban all new gas stations in an effort to curb carbon emissions.

Petaluma bans new gas stations in effort to cut emissions

By Associated Press   03/04/21  
A Sonoma County city has banned new gas stations in an effort to cut carbon emissions. Petaluma is believed to be the first city in the country to take such action. The Petaluma City Council…

Marin Voice: Who really pays price if Costco’s cheap gas comes to Novato?

By Silke Valentin  Photo by Sherry LaVars   03/03/21  
Who wouldn’t want cheap gas? Who wouldn’t want their city to have revenue from a Costco gas station? As a member of 350 Marin — a group of grassroots activists who are deeply concerned about…

Sonoma recycling advocates eye return of ‘buy-back centers’

By Anne Ward Ernst   02/25/21  
Listed in the top 10 nonprofits in Sonoma County based on gross receipts, a tiny-staffed group works on big issues, and love is the reason that this organization is based in Sonoma.

Opponents rally as Novato commission set to review Costco gas station project

By Will Houstan  Photo by Sherry LaVars   02/22/21  
The city Planning Commission is set to meet Monday to consider Costco’s proposal to build the station at the Vintage Oaks Shopping Center.

Warmer California Winters May Fuel Grapevine-Killing Pierce’s Disease

By Liza Gross  Photo by Getty Images   02/17/21  
Sometime around 1990, an exotic winged menace arrived in Southern California. No one knows exactly when or how it got there.

Atmospheric river storms can drive pricey flooding – and local weather change is making them stronger – watts up with that?

By Sammy Edwards   02/02/21  
Ask people to name the world’s largest river, and most will probably guess that it’s the Amazon, the Nile or the Mississippi. In fact, some of Earth’s largest rivers are in the sky – and…

Sonoma County’s plan for oak trees is more smoke in mirrors

By AJA Henry   02/02/21  
Sonoma County’s native oak forests and woodlands are under attack and we have a great opportunity to make a real impact in our county’s future.

Support the Vital Lands Initiative

By Sonoma Valley Sun   01/25/21  
As we face climate change, wildfires, and the pandemic, protecting natural and working lands is more than critical than ever. That is why the Vital Lands Initiative of the Sonoma County Ag + Open Space…

Sonoma County flirts with drought as reservoirs recede in water-poor winter

By Guy Kovner  Photo by Kent Porter   01/16/21  
About a mile of bare, cracked earth now lies like a desertscape between the boat ramp at the north end of Lake Mendocino and the water’s edge of a diminished reservoir that helps provide water…

Sonoma County town backs off natural gas ban

By Cathryn Reed  Photo by Thomas Kienzle   01/07/21  
The Windsor Town Council on Wednesday evening rescinded an ordinance banning natural gas in new residential construction rather than fight a lawsuit brought by two developers.

Push for decarbonizing California Wine Country meets construction industry resistance to natural gas limits

By Kathryn Reed  Photo by Kathryn Reed   01/05/21  
In the march to power California without fossil fuels by 2045, the choice by some cities to ban natural gas has lit the fuse on a battle pitting environmental groups against developers, involving not only…

New park & open space preserve Carrington Coast Ranch coming to Sonoma coast

12/31/20  
On December 29, 2020, the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District (Ag + Open Space), a special district dedicated to protecting our working and natural lands forever, transferred ownership of a 335-acre coastal…

New Park And Open Space Preserve Coming To Sonoma Coast

12/30/20  
The Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District (Ag + Open Space), a special district dedicated to protecting our working and natural lands forever, transferred ownership of a 335-acre coastal property to Sonoma County…

California State Senator Bill Dodd Introduces Power Grid Planning Bill

12/30/20  
Sen. Bill Dodd, D-napa, On Tuesday Announced New Legislation To Ensure California Plans For Continuous Electricity During Wildfire-driven Power Outages Dodd Bill California State Senatorwithout Relying On Fossil Fuel-powered Backup Generation.

Study documents decline of California sea turtles

By Hannah Hagemann  Photo by Scott Benson   12/29/20  
The number of leatherback turtles that feed in central California waters has declined by 80% during the last two decades, according to new research released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Moss…

Creating a More Just Climate Future for Those on the Front Lines

By Jessica Grannis  Photo by Walker Golder   12/21/20  
The Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act is the first major bill to prioritize racial equity in addressing the climate crisis. It takes important steps to advance equitable solutions for addressing climate threats to frontline communities of…

Sonoma County Climate Summit: Not just a global issue

By Natasha Senteney   12/18/20  
I walk around my room, bag in hand, collecting all of the garbage I’ve been too lazy to clean up for the past week, the past month, the past year—cleaning is not my strong suit.…

Marin Voice: Teen environmental leaders share suggestions to slow climate change

By Finn Marti and Jack Rosenthal   12/17/20  
Climate change is an extremely large topic, and it can easily feel like there are no simple actions we can take as individuals that will actually make a difference. As members of Generation Z born…

Bay Area energy tracking tool could aid Marin climate change efforts

By Will Houston   12/09/20  
Marin County officials say a first-of-its-kind tool to track energy use in Bay Area communities could advance efforts to reduce local energy use — and residents’ bills — while working to meet the county’s ambitious…

Marin Voice: Buying clean energy a meaningful action to protect our children

By Susannah Saunders   11/27/20  
There is nothing stronger than the love we have for our children. While little, we read to them every night, carefully provide a healthy diet and make sure they get the best education. If they…

How Wine Country is Adapting to Climate Change

By Urmila Ramakrishnan  Photo Samuel Corum   11/23/20  
In September of 2015, Cecilia Enriquez sold the Petaluma estate of her family's winery, Enriquez Estate Winery, in order to purchase a new property in the Russian River Valley. The following year, they were "rocking…

Novato declares climate change emergency

By Will Houston  Photo by Alan Dep   11/17/20  
The Novato City Council has declared a climate emergency and plans to hold community workshops to develop new strategies on how to cut the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. The emergency declaration, adopted unanimously on Tuesday,…

How wine country became the epicenter for fires in California

By Joseph Serna  Photo by Kent Nishimura   09/29/20  
Perhaps no part of California has felt more threatened by fire in recent years than the vast expanse of wine country and the Redwood Empire north of San Francisco. More than 9,000 structures were lost…

Glass Fire: New evacuation order issued for area just west of Calistoga

By Alanea Cremen   09/29/20  
A new evacuation order has been issued for some residents living just to the west of Calistoga, Tuesday night. According to Cal Fire, the order is in place for “all areas west of SR29/128 (Foothill…

As California wildfires rage, the harvest goes on

By Teresa Cotsirilos   09/22/20  
A week after the Walbridge Fire started in Northern California in mid-August, I met Ezekiel “Zeke” Guzman at 11 p.m. in a deserted McDonald’s parking lot. Soon, we were driving through the backroads of Sonoma…

‘Is This Real Life?’ A Wall of Fire Robs a Russian River Town of its Nonchalance

By Evelyn Nieves  Photo by Josh Edelson   08/20/20  
Days before the raging wildfire threatening to destroy western Sonoma County started, the big worry among Guerneville residents was that our little town might just be too popular. Tourists from all over the San Francisco…

CALIFORNIA CITIES EMBRACE ‘COMMUNITY-CHOICE ELECTRICITY’

By Bonner. R Cohen   02/03/20  
Officials in Irvine, California are inviting four other Orange County municipalities to join their city in a comprehensive government-run electric power management scheme known as a community choice aggregation or community choice energy.

Pg&E Plan To Limit Blackouts Clashes With Clean Energy Groups

By J.D. Morris  Photo by Paul Chinn   01/28/20  
An effort by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. to limit the reach of its planned fire-prevention blackouts this year is drawing resistance from some clean-energy groups who fear the utility’s plan will rely too heavily…

Petaluma signs solar deal

By Matt Brown   01/24/20  
Petaluma entered into the city’s first solar power purchase agreement, ending a nine-month effort to reach a deal that will add solar panels to four city properties and save taxpayers $2.9 million over 20 years…

Another California School District Eyes Microgrid in Response to Wildfire Shutoffs

By Ethan Howland  Photo by David Prahl   01/15/20  
Responding to wildfire-related power outages, a California school district has hired CleanSpark to study the feasibility of building a microgrid.

Marin Sanitary looks to turn trash into power as business changes rapidly

By Chase Difeliciantonio  Photo by Jeff Quackenbush   11/14/19  
The waste business isn’t what it used to be. If you ask Marin Sanitary Service President and CEO Patty Garbarino however, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. “It would seem as though it would be…

Code changes coming, builders worry

By Jeff Quackenbush  Photo by Foamfoto   10/17/19  
Homebuilders in the North Bay and elsewhere in California will have several significant new requirements in 2020 for protecting structures from wildfires and reducing the projected impact of dwellings on the environment.

Sonoma County grape growers reach goal for sound farming, tackle climate change next

By Guy Kovner  Photo by Christopher Chung   09/13/19  
Sonoma County wine grape growers said Thursday they had reached a goal in committing to sound farming practices and are launching a campaign to curb agriculture’s contribution to climate change. The 1,800-member Sonoma County Winegrowers…