Here’s your chance to learn a bit more about 350 Contra Costa Action. Talk with volunteers about what they’re doing to end the era of fossil fuels. Get an idea what it’s like to take positive steps toward an equitable, livable world starting right here in Contra Costa.
Please register in advance for this free event. We’re looking forward to meeting you!
“Cutting methane is the strongest lever we have to slow climate change over the next 25 years and complements necessary efforts to reduce carbon dioxide.” So stated Inger Andersen, director of the UN’s Environment Program, in a press release last year.
Methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas. Along with carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, fluorinated gases and many others, its presence in the atmosphere is causing our planet to retain heat. And methane is about 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at warming up the planet. If we think of greenhouse gases as blankets on a bed, methane would be the polar-bear fur. Fortunately, methane in the atmosphere dissipates after 10 to 20 years (unlike carbon dioxide, which sticks around for thousands of years). So cutting our methane emissions can have a huge effect in the short term.
Methane emissions caused by human activity come from three main sources: fossil fuels, agriculture, and waste.
Recent research has shown that the fossil fuel industry is responsible for much more atmospheric methane than previously understood. Fracking, gas wells and pipelines, and coal mines all release methane as well as carbon dioxide, so the case for transitioning to renewable energy sources is even stronger.
The main agricultural source of methane emissions is cow burps. That’s why many environmentalists urge us to consume less beef.
The third source is organic matter—food waste, yard trimmings, and paper—decomposing without oxygen in landfills. In California, about 20 percent of all methane emissions stem from this source. Thanks to SB 1383, which took effect this year, recycling organic waste is now mandatory for both residents and businesses. Some municipalities don’t yet have facilities in place to process food waste; they have until 2024 before penalties will be assessed.
According to CalRecycle director Rachel Wagoner, recycling organic waste “is the single easiest and fastest thing that every single person can do to affect climate change." Learn more about how California is reducing methane emissions from landfills here.
Food scraps and yard waste naturally decay into compost, organic matter that enriches soil so it can be used to grow nutritious food crops. Organic waste that’s diverted from landfills can also be processed to produce biogas, a renewable energy source.
On November 8, the Brentwood City Council approved a feasibility study looking at building a “garbage juicer”—a facility to make biogas from organic waste matter.
In the effort to cut methane emissions, real progress is being made.
We’re happy to announce several victories by our endorsed candidates around the county:
Congratulations to all these climate champions!
In September, California climate activists savored a sweet victory when SB 1137 passed the legislature and was signed into law by Governor Newsom. This new law prohibits any new permits for oil or gas drilling within 3200 feet of “sensitive areas” like homes, schools, and hospitals. It’s a huge deal for frontline communities who have suffered the serious health threats posed by neighborhood oil wells.
But now, the oil industry is fighting back. They’ve started collecting signatures on a petition to put repealing SB 1137 on the 2024 ballot—and they’re getting folks to sign by falsely claiming that repealing the law will lower gas prices. Foul play! But that’s nothing new for Big Oil.
If they get enough signatures, the law will be put on hold for two years, until the next election. Then, they’d have a chance to channel their millions of dollars into passing the ballot measure and getting SB 1137 repealed.
We have to save the setback law! If you see a signature-gatherer at work, explain to them that this petition threatens community health by allowing oil companies to drill in our neighborhoods. And please—tell everyone you know that the petition is a trick.
On November 10, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) announced their new proposal to regulate the arrangements between utilities and their solar customers. This latest plan would slash the credit solar consumers receive for the extra energy they share with the grid, making rooftop solar a much more expensive prospect for homes and businesses.
Unlike earlier proposals, this one doesn’t include a solar tax—but it would surely have a negative effect on the transition to renewable energy.
The CPUC has announced it will make a final decision on this proposal at their December 15 meeting.
To keep up to date on how you can fight for affordable, local solar in California, visit the Solar Rights Alliance website.
Lisa and Emily.
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The time for climate action is NOW!
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