Sonoma County has ambitious goals to reach carbon neutrality even sooner than the state. Right now the process is focused on raising funding and public awareness - so said Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins.
"We are actually serious about securing funding for what is really, truly the greatest crisis of our lifetimes, and we really want to move the needle forward," Hopkins said.
The focus on funding for climate change holds true for Tanya Narath, with the Regional Climate Protection Authority. She said plenty of work lies ahead.
"We're generally heading in the right direction," Narath said at a recent public meeting. "Our challenge is we're not heading in that direction fast enough. We had reduced our emissions almost 23% below 1990 levels at 2020, which is good. But again, we need to do much more."
Narath said Sonoma County has two major challenge areas.
"Transportation and buildings," Narath said. "They are the largest emitters from our greenhouse gas inventory."
Most pressing, Narath said, is transportation emissions.
"So we need to reduce the number of miles that we drive," Narath said. "We need to switch from driving around in fossil fuel powered vehicles to zero emission vehicles, electric and other. And we need to find new funding sources to support these strategies that we put into place. So our Driveless Sonoma County campaign is aimed at making it easier and safer for all of us to get around the county without having to get into the car."
Narath pointed to positive effects of tackling greenhouse gas emissions.
"It's critical for the health of our community," Narath said. "Our existing buildings, if you're using a gas stove to cook your meals, you're emitting pollutants into your home. So switching to an induction cook top, clean electricity is really a key piece of improving indoor air quality."
With the 2030 carbon neutrality target looming, the Regional Climate Protection Authority is preparing a potential ballot initiative to put before Sonoma County voters in 2024. It would help publicly fund the move to carbon neutrality.