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Sonoma County Gazette
For the Planet

We're Calling it What?

Aug 30, 2017
by Tish Levee


For years we spoke of “global warming,” which, while it’s the true cause of “climate change,” is subject to deniers saying such things as, “but it’s really cold outside, how can the planet be warming?” Now, we’re beginning to speak of the “climate crisis,” because a crisis is what it’s become. No matter what you call it, the problem’s still the same—the planet’s getting hotter, much hotter, and that’s affecting not just the weather, but practically everything else.

First, the good news! Locally, state-wide, around the country, and around the world, people are joining up to fight the climate crisis. A few examples:

Locally and in California Our local water agency has been carbon-free since 2015. Following the lead of Marin Clean Energy and Sonoma Clean Power, many other areas are adopting Clean Energy. By 2020, over 40% of Californians will have CCEs, producing nearly 58% of the state’s electricity.

California currently has 27% renewable energy, which is mandated to be 50% by 2030. A bill in the Legislature would make that 100% by the end of 2045.

In the United States and around the worldCurrently the US will become 33% renewable by 2020. BUT at least 13 countries were more than 95% renewable in 2008; 45 countries had over 60% renewable energy! We need to catch up!

Chile’s large solar and wind farms, plus geothermal energy, has it on track to be 90% renewable by 2045, up from 45% now. Sweden recently passed legislation to be 100% renewable by 2045.

Since January 1st, all Dutch trains have run on 100% renewable wind energy, saving the equivalent of all energy Dutch households use annually

EVs are important weapons in fighting the climate crisis. Approximately 27% of US GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions are from transportation; over half of that’s from passenger vehicles, but EVs are rapidly replacing internal combustion engines. Great Britain just joined France in announcing they’ll phase out fossil fuel-powered vehicles by 2040. India will do so by 2030; Norway by 2025. VW’s all electric model of the popular VW bus will be available in 2022; Volvo will start phasing out fossil fuel vehicles in 2019.

Sonoma Clean Power’s making EVs affordable. Until October 31st SCP is again offering an incentive program for EVs. Choose from nine models (and even some used vehicles) and buy an EV for as little as $10,000. Go to for details.

So why’s all this so important? Because, there’s lots of bad news, too. July was the hottest July ever, AND that was without the heat boost of an El Niño.

Wildfires are raging across the world. In longer, hotter summers, ground moisture evaporates, resulting in more wildfires. Trees destroyed by fire can’t take up carbon from the atmosphere, increasing climate change. Fires raging in Canada, Alaska, Siberia, AND Greenland are depositing black carbon on Arctic ice, which reduces the reflectivity of the ice, speeding melting. A fire in Greenland, where 80% of the landmass is covered with ice, has been burning for over two weeks – much longer than usual fires there. It’s bigger, too.

Climate change is about thinking, not belief. We may hear that someone doesn’t “believe” in climate change. But climate change is NOT about belief. A belief system is not one of rational thought; it isn’t based on any evidence; it’s about taking a “leap of faith.” There is a place for “belief,” but climate change is not that place. Climate change is about thinking, about evidence that we can see. We need to look at it this way.

The evidence is clear. Recently, because of concerns that the administration might dismiss or even suppress it, a final draft of the Climate Science Special Report, part of the National Climate Assessment, mandated by Congress every four years, was leaked to the NewYork Times. The evidence and conclusions in the 673 page report counter the administration’s stand on climate change. One of the lead authors is Carl Mears, a member of Sonoma County’s Center for Climate Protection.

Sonoma Clean Power’s making EVs affordable.Written last November, this BBC report is useful and quite comprehensive, with helpful links.

© Copyright Tish Levee, 2017


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