Santa Rosa, CA – September 17, 2019 – Today, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors formally joined cities, counties, and countries across the world in declaring a climate emergency, establishing this issue as a top priority. Over 1,000 local governments representing 219 million people in 19 countries have issued resolutions to solidify their commitment to mobilizing an emergency response commensurate with the scale of the climate crisis.
“Climate change is the most critical issue we face today and we universally are not acting fast enough to avert substantial damage to the economy, environment, and human health in the coming decades,” said Board of Supervisors Chair David Rabbitt. “On a local level, we continue to experience extreme climate-related events, including six years of recent droughts, devastating wildfires, and severe flooding. This resolution commits us to reevaluate our existing policies through the lens of a climate emergency and to work with our employees and residents to take action to prevent the distressing impacts of the climate crisis.”
The adopted resolution includes a directive to partner with Sonoma County’s Regional Climate Protection Authority (RCPA) to fight climate change by developing and implementing the 2030 Climate Emergency Mobilization Strategy. The Strategy will identify key local actions, including a list of the most impactful local policies to drive system changes and identify key areas for state level advocacy.
Sonoma County remains the only county in the United States to create a regional authority to coordinate and support climate action countywide. Formed in 2009, RCPA collaborates with local agencies on setting goals, pooling resources, and formalizing partnerships to create local solutions that complement state, federal, and private sector actions to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.
In addition to a partnership with RCPA, the County will capitalize on strategies identified in the Recovery & Resiliency Framework, adopted by the Board of Supervisors in December, 2018, to address the climate crisis. The Framework serves as a long-term vision for a resilient future with five strategic areas, including Community Preparedness and Infrastructure, Housing, Economy, Safety Net Services, and Natural Resources. The County will work to prioritize the implementation goals in the Framework that support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mitigate climate change impacts, and promote climate resiliency.
Immediate next steps include development of possible actions to be considered at the Board of Supervisors’ Strategic Priorities discussion on January 28, 2020 along with other Strategic Priorities for 2020.