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Napa County Must Reduce its Carbon Footprint

January 11, 2010

NAPA, CA - Napa County's greenhouse gas emissions are expected to grow to 1.46 million metric tons in 2020, an increase of 22 percent above 2005 if the county doesn't take action now, according to data from the Napa County Transportation and Planning Agency (NCTPA).

To meet the state's 2020 target, local jurisdictions would have to reduce emissions by 30 percent, or 446,661 metric tons, below "business as usual," reported the Napa Valley Register.

The agency spent 18 months and $75,000 to come up with the first estimate of the county's contribution to global warming, Eliot Hurwitz, the transit agency's project coordinator, said.

Hurwitz said most local cities and the county will use the new information to devise "climate action plans". The NCTPA report lists more than 50 areas where individuals, businesses and government can reduce energy consumption. Many of the actions that will achieve major reductions in greenhouse gases will come from new state and federal policies that mandate greater energy efficiency, said Hurwitz.

Hurwitz will present the draft Community Action Framework to every city council and the Napa County Board of Supervisors. The NCTPA will hold public meetings in Napa, American Canyon and Upvalley in coming months. The agency's board of directors is scheduled to adopt a final report that incorporates community comments in the spring.

Within Napa County, Calistoga had the lowest per capita emissions - 5.5 tons - while the unincorporated area had the highest, 19.3 tons, reflecting the many miles of roads outside cities.

Transportation generated 53 percent of the county's greenhouse gases, commercial and industrial buildings 19 percent and residences 16 percent. Agriculture accounted for 3 percent.

Because agreement could not be reached on the impacts of converting forest to vineyards, the report did not estimate the greenhouse gas consequences of future conversions, Hurwitz said.

The report estimated that 10,000 more acres in Napa County would be converted to vineyard by 2030.

Local jurisdictions are already moving ahead to promote energy efficiency, Hurwitz said. Using a $700,000 federal stimulus grant, Napa will hire a "sustainability coordinator" and invest in low-energy products. The city is also implementing tougher "green" building standards, reported the Register.

 

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