Climate change went from a debatable topic 12 years ago, to an obvious crisis today. The dramatic weather changes, along with horrific wildland fires, flooding, and droughts, all are the result of Climate Change.
I was an early advocate for recognizing climate change as a critical issue. I serve on the Countywide Climate Action Committee and was honored as a 2022 Climate Champion by the Napa Climate NOW organization.
Most of our carbon footprint comes from transportation (around 42% in general, although a higher percentage in American Canyon, thanks to the 29 highway corridor) and buildings. Addressing this problem will involve not just our community but the Country as a whole—and even globally. But there are things we can do right here and right now.
Reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT), by improving our bike and pedestrian paths, encouraging local hires, and supporting public transportation. These efforts will also go hand in hand with a Sustainable Economy and reducing Traffic. We also need to reinforce this effort by encouraging more bikes, including e-bikes.
Facilitate the purchase and use of Electric Vehicles: On the one hand, we need to dramatically increase the number of EV Charging stations; on the other, we need to educate the public about cash incentives for purchasing EV’s. The City should lead by example, and “electrify” its fleet, as much as possible.
Support Energy Efficiency and Conservation efforts in our homes and businesses: In the long run, the best way to reduce energy use in buildings is to be more energy efficient--turn off lights, adjusting the thermostat, install extra wall and ceiling insulation, upgrade our windows and heating/cooling systems. This will be beneficial regardless of how that energy is generated. By working with PG&E and other contractors, residents and businesses should be able to get a full list of projects that improve energy efficiency--many of which may be eligible for cash incentives and rebates.
Increase the use of more electric appliances and equipment: Replacing gas water heaters, cooking stoves, clothes dryers, gas powered leaf blowers, etc. with electric alternatives, is an important first step. There should be public awareness campaigns and financial incentives to encourage the shift.
Increase the generation, use and storage of renewable energy: Once we shift from gas-powered to electric powered equipment, we also need to create more renewable energy. PG&E is slowly moving in that direction, but we can do more here at home, with solar panel installations, and most critically, battery backup. With a battery, we can reduce peak demands on our electric grid. Producing most of your own energy also means you save money as well as protect the planet.