Concerns About Napa County's Climate Action Plan (CAP)
Christina Benz | Jun 26, 2017
Concerns about Napa County’s Climate Action Plan (CAP)
(see the plan and comments at
The CAP doesn’t provide a path for meaningful emissions reductions because:
1. It isn’t based on current climate science.
• The CAP accounting method was selected “to maintain consistency with latest statewide inventory (for 2015) prepared by California Air Resources Board (CARB).”
• CARB has updated accounting for its Short-Lived Climate Pollutant (SLCP) Reduction Strategy, going into effect January 2018 (SB 1383). (
See the report here.
• The SLCP Strategy is based on the current scientific understanding (IPCC Assessment Report 5, 2013-14) that in order to slow global warming, reducing SLCP emissions will be the most productive strategy.
• Of particular importance is its focus on black carbon, now recognized as one of the four most powerful climate pollutants driving global warming. Napa is a source of black carbon pollution from diesel engines, agricultural burning, etc.
• Additionally, tropospheric ozone is another major contributor to climate change. This short-lived climate pollutant should also be addressed.
• Let’s align Napa’s CAP with the latest statewide and regional plans, and the state of climate science. (See Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s 2017 Bay Area Clean Air Plan: Spare the Air and Cool the Climate at http://www.baaqmd.gov/plans-and-climate/air-quality-plans/current-plans )
2. Its three top measures for reducing emissions are not seen as feasible by community stakeholders.
• Measure BE-6: Replacement of residential and commercial gas water heaters with electric or alternatively-powered units.
➢ North Bay Association of Realtors (NorBAR) comments: “NorBAR is concerned that, given the potential time delays and costs of adding an electric water heater, homeowners will forgo permits and have the standard water heater installed.”
• Measure AG-3: Replacement of diesel and gas powered farm equipment with electric or alternatively-fueled units.
➢ Napa Valley Grapegrowers comment: “Many vineyards have no other need for being serviced by PG&E. In most cases, use of this service will be infrequent, while still incurring extremely high standby costs. This measure seems growth inducing and a poor use of resources.”
• Measure OR-2: Replacing diesel or gas with alternative fuels in recreational watercraft.
➢ Feasible??? How much time will be spent regulating and enforcing this?!?!
Napa needs and deserves a CAP that focuses on the following:
1. Reduction of Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (methane, black carbon, tropospheric ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons) with measures such as the following:
• Reduce methane due to solid waste by installing methane capture systems at food and pomace composting sites.
• Reduce methane due to wastewater treatment by installing anaerobic digesters at wastewater treatment plants in American Canyon, St. Helena, and Calistoga.
• Reduce vehicle emissions for hauling winery wastewater by expanding Napa Sanitation plant to handle this wastewater and capturing methane generated (waste-to-energy).
• Reduce black carbon through incentivizing cleaner diesel engines and alternatives to traditional ag burning methods.
• Note: The CAP does contain appropriate measures for reducing hydrofluorocarbons (Measures HG-1 and HG-2). We need an accurate inventory of these emissions.
2. Decarbonizing power and transportation
• The proposed CAP contains several measures toward this goal (BE-9, BE-10, BE-11, TR-13)
3. Reducing and mitigating loss of Carbon Sequestration during land use change in a realistic way
• Measure LU-1’s target of preserving 30% of existing woodlands was ”based on feasibility assessments made by county staff.” This target is far too low.
• Instead, let’s accurately account for carbon sequestration, then properly mitigate its loss (via replants, carbon farming practices, the use of a carbon “tax”, etc.).
The proposed County Climate Action plan will allow the county to check off a General Plan “to do” item—and that’s all. Let’s not waste our supervisor’s time and tax dollars enacting measures that may be cost-prohibitive, unenforceable, and won’t make a difference in reducing global warming. Let’s not make residents and businesses pay for measures that won’t make a difference.
We are Napa—we don’t need to check off a box; we need to do what we’re good at—thinking outside the box—and put in place REAL solutions to global warming.