|County hails reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
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 causing 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 12 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 because of 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 because of 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,” Hancock said. “Using green energy to rebuild our economy is the future. Continuing to reduce emissions can boost our economic rebound.”