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California has set lofty goals for transitioning away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy by 2045. Sonoma County hopes to make the transition even quicker.

January 1st, 2030 - that’s the date, or at least the year that Sonoma County has pegged as its target to meet local climate goals.

Tanya Narath is climate programs director at the Regional Climate Protection Authority.

"What this means is that we need to reduce our carbon pollution or greenhouse gas emissions significantly," Narath said. "We estimate at least by 80% and that any remaining emissions by 2030 are offset by an increase in carbon sequestration, which means pulling carbon from the atmosphere and storing in our forests natural and working lands and our urban green spaces."

Suzanne Smith is RCPA’s executive director. The agency helps local and county government to chart a path to transition away from fossil fuels over the next seven years.

"There's a lot to do and a short time to do it in," Smith said.

In a virtual public meeting this week Smith and other local climate leaders addressed the agency’s next major goal: deciding on a local funding program to put before voters.

Narath said there are still a number of options on the table.

"Including a sales tax, parcel tax or vehicle license fee," Narath said.

Another speaker: Representative Jared Huffman, who was behind the legislation which helped create RCPA during his time in the State Assembly.

"We are running out of time to address this existential moment for our planet, for our species, for our future generations," Huffman said. "And so that's why we've just all gotta pull together."

Eris Weaver of the Sonoma County Bike Coalition addressed transportation emissions.

"If all we did was magically wave and wand and have all the private vehicles on the planet be electric, that's still not gonna get us to our GHG reduction goals," Weaver said.

She said they are pivotal to meeting local climate goals.

"60% of our greenhouse gas emissions locally are from the transportation sector," Weaver said. "So ways to address transportation issues are to make walking and bicycling safer and more convenient. We need transit to be more reliable and more frequent."

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