Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I'm a carbon neutral delayist - until 2020

At Monday's Water District meeting, we revised our greenhouse gas/climate change policies.  The prior policy was to reduce emissions "when feasible".  Staff's new proposal was to "strive for carbon neutrality".  The Board Chair (and the other enviro on our board) wanted more.  She said she wanted to achieve carbon neutrality and to give a date, even though it was one she didn't expect to meet.  The date she gave was 2015.

I didn't know she was going to do any of that, so it was a pleasant surprise.  I thought having a date, or figuring out a date soon, was good but we need it to be defensible.  We're already pretty good on emissions, getting most of our power from carbon neutral hydro, but we still use a lot of other power, have a lot of vehicles, and a lot of construction.  I argued for either 2020 or for setting up the process now for establishing a date.  By 2020 I said we should be well along in San Francisco Bay wetlands restoration, which should absorb a huge amount of carbon emissions and make carbon neutrality possible.  The Board settled on that date.

Video below, or go here, click on August 20, and start watching at about 3 hours in.

The reference to "purpa" is actually the Power and Water Resources Pooling Authority, a joint government agency that buys power directly from providers instead of going through utility companies, giving us a lot more control over our carbon emissions.  This is why we have a chance of achieving neutrality.

The truth is I'd be thrilled if we achieved carbon neutrality by 2020, but let's see how close we can get.  I need to start working on the planning for it.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Accepting responsibility

I thought I'd add a little clip from a meeting in June when the District Board discussed multiple delays in a program to protect endangered fish and habitats in Stevens, Coyote, and Guadalupe Creeks, called the FAHCE/Three Creeks Habitat Conservation Plan.

Some directors had expressed frustration with delays at regulatory agencies, which I think is a legitimate thing to be concerned about.  I made the point that we also need to accept some responsibility for the delay due to expanding and then contracting the scope of the project, and because the program kept getting switched between managers:

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If the video doesn't work, click here, scroll to June 26 2012m and start the video at the 2:00:00 mark.

Nobody disagreed with my point.  I think we're working hard to fix things, and that both the Board and staff are willing to take responsibility for fixing things.