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OCTOBER 5, 2020

We highlight promising news from California: Governor Newsom’s Executive Order to ban sales of new gas powered cars in 15 years, creation of the California Climate Action Corps and the report of the Marin Grand Jury calling for a centralized climate action plan. Belle and the team.


By Andrew Freedman and Jason Samenow

By J.D. Morris

Climate change. Energy policy. Forest management. Home safety. All play a role in worsening California fires, and all will require tough decisions about the way we live to solve.

But the numbers left out of the state’s calculations are staggering. Last year alone, wildfires released 45.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air, according to state estimates. That’s more than half as much as the state’s industrial sector emits in a typical year.

If California factored wildfire estimates into its final count for 2017, the last year the state tallied all of its greenhouse gas emissions, the state would have seen overall emissions rise, not fall.

Excessive heat warnings will remain in effect on the coast as the state closes in on a new record of 4m acres burned

Smoke from nearly two dozen wildfires burning across California will continue to darken skies across the west this weekend, as residents prepare for more heat, toxic air and conditions that are expected to keep fueling the flames.

The National Weather Service reports that both excessive heat warnings and heat advisories will remain in effect along California’s coast, while the Bay Area Air Quality Management District has extended its Spare the Air Alert through Tuesday, with air quality deemed “unhealthy.” Meanwhile the state is closing in on a devastating new record, with close to 4m acres now consumed by wildfires this season.

Climate policy

By Anna Guth

The Marin County Civil Grand Jury is urging jurisdictions countywide to join together to develop a comprehensive climate change adaptation strategy. In a report published last week, the jury found that efforts to lower greenhouse gas emissions in Marin have been successful, but that the necessary adaptation of public infrastructure and safety programs is lagging.

The outlook of the 20-member investigative body was grim. “Over the lifetime of a child born in 2020, Marin County will be profoundly affected by climate change,” the jury wrote. “Today’s heavily populated shoreline areas will either be inundated by rising sea levels or be shielded by large sea walls. Highways will be rerouted or re-engineered. The vegetation on Mount Tamalpais will be altered. Health systems will be stressed. Socioeconomic inequities will worsen.”

Politics, legislation, regulations

The effort to open the Alaskan wilderness area, the nation’s largest national forest, has been in the works for about two years.

The proposal would speed up the state’s efforts to fight global warming at a time when California is being battered by wildfires, heat waves and other consequences of climate change.

By Ann Hancock

Sensing this historic moment, on Wednesday, Newsom issued an executive order requiring all new cars and light trucks sold in California to be zero emission by 2035. He put California squarely in the lead on climate as the first state in the nation to set a deadline for transitioning away from gas-powered vehicles, joining over a dozen countries that have taken similar actions.

We are excited to build the first statewide California Climate Action Corps, and we look forward to building it with the help of passionate Californians, businesses, nonprofit organizations, universities and communities across the state,” said California Chief Service Officer Josh Fryday. “Together, we can inspire climate action everywhere.” Californians are encouraged to learn about the many ways each of us can be a part of the solution, and sign up to join California Climate Action Corps, at

The city of San Jose announced Friday that it has teamed up with the state to form the first ever California Climate Action Corps to fight climate change.


By John Branch and Brad Plumer

America is now under siege by climate change in ways that scientists have warned about for years. But there is a second part to their admonition: Decades of growing crisis are already locked into the global ecosystem and cannot be reversed.

In a rare calm moment during a historically active Atlantic hurricane season, an international team of climate scientists on Monday published a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change showing that human-caused global heating is making the world's oceans more "stable"—which, as co-author Michael Mann explained, is "very bad news."

Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State, detailed researchers' findings about ocean stratification in a piece for Newsweek. Using "more comprehensive data and a more sophisticated method for estimating stratification changes" than past studies, the scientists found that "oceans are not only becoming more stable, but are doing so faster than was previously thought."

The northern hemisphere’s only ice sheet ultimately holds enough frozen water to raise seas by seven meters.

By Somini Sengupta

This year’s events come amid a climate reckoning in the world’s richest country. Here are the takeaways.

Transportation, fossil fuels

By Will Mathis

A technology that can capture greenhouse gases from wide swaths of the economy is gaining momentum after years of slow growth.

Carbon capture, utilization and storage projects worth $27 billion are close to a final investment decision, more than double the amount planned three years ago, the International Energy Agency said in a report.

By Ben Klayman

DETROIT (Reuters) - ChargePoint Inc, one of the world's oldest and largest electric vehicle charging networks, said on Thursday it will go public by merging with Switchback Energy Acquisition Corp SBE.N in a deal that values the company at $2.4 billion.

Dive Brief:

· California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday issued an executive order adopting a goal for the sales of all new passenger vehicles in the state to be zero-emission by 2035, taking aim at the roughly 50% share of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions that come from the transportation sector.

· The order instructs the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to craft regulations mandating that goal, which will reduce more than 35% of greenhouse gas emissions from cars statewide, according to Newsom's administration. It also tasks the agency with ensuring that medium- and heavy-duty vehicles are 100% zero emission by 2045 "everywhere feasible."

California's plan to ban new sales of fossil-fuel cars and China's first target for net zero carbon emissions are the latest signs that global climate action is beginning to accelerate, analysts say.

The need to maintain healthy agricultural soils has never been greater as we face the challenges of climate change and feeding an expanding human population.

At Cornell, sustainability is a guiding principal across campus. Education, research, and public activities all implement sustainable practices. It is also an integral part of Cornell’s Climate Action Plan, which calls for reaching carbon neutrality by 2035. Cornell is exploring new options for their organic wastes, and finding solutions using slow pyrolysis to create biochar, and composting. Researchers are studying the benefits of using biochar and compost as soil amendments. Both biochar and compost can help renew depleted soils while diverting waste from landfills. Together, these practices fight food insecurity.


Tuesday, October 6: Seeing Through the 'Fake News' Used to Cloud the Climate Crisis. Environmental Forum of Marin continues its fall series. 10:30 am. Information & registration.

Wednesday, October 7: Adapting to Rising Tides. Marin Conservation League Land Use Committee hears from BCDC Program Manager Dana Brechwald. 10:00 am. Registration.

Thursday, October 8, 9:00 am - noon: One Tam Summit on Climate - Change and Resilience. Series exploring climate change impacts, solutions, and connections continues with 'Resilient Forests' (10/8), 'Changing Shorelines' (10/15), 'Resilient Species' (10/22), and 'Local Solutions' (10/29). In collaboration with Drawdown Marin. Information & registration.

Thursday, October 8, 6:00 pm: OFA Marin monthly meeting.

Monday, October 19, 7:00 pm: General Plan 2040 Extravaganza! With the County (and planet) gearing up to reach zero-net carbon by 2045, is San Rafael's emerging General Plan up to the task? Come judge for yourself (and suggest improvements) prior to the release of draft documents for public comment. These include the Plan itself, Downtown Precise Plan, Form Based Code, Traffic Impact Fee Study, and EIR. Framing this 'deep-dive' vision of the future is a Sea Level Rise Adaptation Report, which could be key to the City's response to the 9/11 Marin Grand Jury Report calling for proactive action to address intensifying climate impacts. Add your voice to the deliberations of the City Council. Agenda & staff report.

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