ABOUT DRAWDOWN: MARIN
LEARN | JOIN | ACT
Climate change and global warming have been more visible in the news for the last several years. Most people have heard of the Paris Agreement, renewable energy, sea level rise, and so much more. But how does this affect us, right here in our own communities? How aware are we about the science and the solutions that we can implement locally, even when faced with a global challenge?
DRAWDOWN: Marin is for all of us, right now, right here in Marin. While climate change is a global problem, the effects are always local, and so are the solutions. We hope you will be inspired to LEARN more, JOIN the campaign, and ACT to be part of the climate solution. You will find information and ideas here about what YOU can do and what WE can do together.
WHAT IS "DRAWDOWN: MARIN"?
DRAWDOWN: Marin is a comprehensive, science-based, community-wide campaign to do our part to slow the impacts of climate change by dramatically reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and, to the extent possible, eliminating the use of fossil fuels.
DRAWDOWN: Marin will bring together all members of the community to work together, enabling every individual, every neighborhood, every organization, every business, and every municipality to make their own contributions to this effort. DRAWDOWN: Marin is bold and ambitious, but it is achievable if all of us, as a community, commit to the goal.
WHAT DOES "DRAWDOWN" MEAN?
“Drawdown” refers to drawing down, or reducing, the greenhouse gas emissions that are the major cause of rapidly warming global temperatures.
True drawdown of these emissions has the potential to restore the Earth’s atmosphere to pre-industrial levels. This could avoid the catastrophic tipping point of a 2 degree Celsius, or greater, rise in global temperatures.
WHY "DRAWDOWN: MARIN"?
The most important leadership challenge of this century is to respond to the impacts as well as the causes of climate change with vision and with decisive actions that will protect future generations. As President Obama said, “We are the first generation to feel the effects of climate change, and the last one to be able to do anything about it."
In Marin, about 1/3 of our emissions are from the energy that heats and lights our residential and commercial buildings, cooks our food, and powers all of our appliances and machines.
Almost 2/3 comes from transportation: the cars, trucks, and buses that we see on our roads and highways everyday.
We are moving quickly to develop and implement adaptation strategies to protect our homes, businesses, infrastructure, and the greater environment, but we also must address the causes of climate change – and there are things we can do that will have an impact IF we commit to taking action now.
Marin County residents, businesses, organizations, and municipalities throughout Marin recognize the critical importance of addressing climate change, and there are many organizations working on this. It comes down to an effort that everyone takes part in. The State of California has set ambitious goals, too, but real actions have to be taken by all of us, right where we live.
WHY IS REDUCING GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS SO IMPORTANT?
We are already seeing the early effects of climate change on land and in the ocean – noticeable changes to weather patterns, with bigger flood events, more dangerous wildfires, and longer droughts. The oceans are changing, too, becoming more acidified and threatening the complex food web.
Greenhouse gases generated by human activity, and not natural cycles or solar activity, are the main cause of global climate change. Burning fossil fuels, like gas, oil, and coal, have contributed significantly to changes in our atmosphere, which in turn, over time, have changed the earth’s global average temperature. The levels of the various gases in our atmosphere remained relatively steady, as did temperatures, but began changing in the 1800’s – a result of the ever-increasing demand for the coal, oil, and gas that fueled the industrial revolution. The earth is warming. From the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website:
“For over a century, scientists have realized that concentrations of atmospheric gases may significantly affect Earth's climate through this process. Scientists have been measuring GHGs in the atmosphere for more than 50 years. Charles Keeling began continuous measurements of CO2 concentrations in 1958 and others, including NOAA scientists, followed shortly thereafter. Today, there is unequivocal scientific evidence that the abundance of these gases is increasing in the atmosphere. Evidence includes decades of carefully calibrated, global measurements of these trace gases, combined with measurements of "old" air preserved in bubbles embedded in ice cores and measurements of carbon isotopes, in tree rings (from which past atmospheric CO2 can be reconstructed). This increase in atmospheric GHGs has a significant impact on Earth's climate because Earth's incoming and outgoing radiation is out of balance --which forces the climate to change.”
The average global temperature has risen 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit over the last hundred years due to increased emissions, but has been increasing at a faster and faster rate over the last 50 years. The Arctic and Antarctic Poles are warming even more quickly. Similarly, carbon dioxide (CO2), which remained steady until the industrial revolution, has been climbing steadily over the last 50 years. It is now over 410 PPM, a dangerously high level, and the highest it has been in 800,000 years.
If the trend continues, the average global temperature will rise enough to dramatically change life on Earth as we know it. The 2015 Paris Agreement aimed to hold global warming below an increase of 2 degrees Celsius, with good-faith efforts to not exceed a 1.5 C degree increase. However, at the current rate of temperature increase, that 1.5 C degree limit could be exceeded as soon as 2030. Countries across the earth, despite their best intentions, are not implementing changes quickly enough and we are currently on track to hit 3 degrees Celsius in the next couple of decades.
WHAT IS MARIN’S GOAL?
To the extent possible, Marin’s goal is to eliminate fossil fuels - electrifying everything, powering everything using renewable energy, and sequestering carbon in our landscape, truly "drawing down" the amount of carbon dioxide and other harmful greenhouse gas emissions from the activities in our communities. This campaign goes beyond current targets that have much longer timeframes. We must act more quickly if we are to avoid catastrophic global warming of more than 2 degrees Celsius.
WHERE DID THE IDEA FOR DRAWDOWN: MARIN COME FROM?
Marin has a long history of environmental action. We have succeeded by working together to preserve open space, agricultural lands, and protect the environment. Sometimes, we “started small” with an idea that then became a really big deal, like MCE Clean Energy – launched in 2010 with just 6,500 customers and now has over half a million. We can take the actions that have the potential to make a big difference. Paul Hawken’s “Project Drawdown” was inspirational, too: it’s a comprehensive plan to reverse global warming that lists 80 technologically viable, existing solutions, plus 20 innovative ideas that are on the horizon. We are one of the first communities to try to put some of those ideas into action in a locally relevant way.
WHAT IS THE PLAN?
How do we achieve the goal of becoming a fossil free community? There are six sectors that are aligned with the California Climate Strategies: 100% Renewable Energy; Low-Carbon Transportation; Energy Efficiency in the Built Environment; Local Food and Food Waste; Carbon Sequestration; and Climate Resilient Communities.
Working groups will be convened in 2018 for each of the strategies to develop "roadmaps" to guide Marin to move as quickly as possible to become fossil free. They will identify what is possible, what impediments to success exist, costs and benefits, realistic steps and timelines, and partners in attaining the goals.
The actions outlined in the Drawdown: Marin roadmap will be the basis of a community-wide campaign, expected to launch in 2019. The campaign will be led by an Executive Steering Committee, a Community Action Advisory Group, and a Green Ribbon Advisory Council. The campaign will draw on all of Marin County: our residents, our businesses – large and small, the private sector, and the public sector – an “everyone in the pool” effort to do our part to reduce the impacts of climate change – not just for Marin County and the Bay Area, but for the global community of which we are a part.
Please visit the six strategies to learn more about what you can do.
WHAT IS MARIN’S TRACK RECORD ON CLIMATE ACTION?
Marin County has a long history of recognizing the importance of protecting our environment. Over the decades, Marin has successfully led efforts to preserve and protect our natural resources: 82% of Marin’s land is preserved as open space and agricultural lands, and we’ve led the way with groundbreaking initiatives, like Marin Clean Energy, launched in 2010.
Our local efforts have made a big difference in our quality of life, and have had ripple effects felt across the state. Everything that has been accomplished was because of passionate, engaged residents, businesses, and local government, all working together.
Marin’s 21st century climate actions began in 2002 when the Board of Supervisors signed a resolution that specifically recognized the threats posed by climate change. Among the highlights since then, the County adopted a Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan (2006); adopted the Marin Countywide Plan, with an overarching theme of “planning sustainable communities” (2007); launched Marin Clean Energy (MCE), focused on procuring 100% renewable energy and building local generation facilities (2010); adopted an updated Climate Action Plan with more aggressive greenhouse gas emission reduction targets: 30% below 1990 levels by 2020 (2015); completed comprehensive vulnerability assessments of our coastal and bayside shorelines and communities (2015-17); and, along with Marin’s eleven cities and towns, the County of Marin switched all of its electricity accounts to MCE Deep Green 100% renewable energy. Marin’s cities and towns have developed Climate Action Plans, too – take a look at what your community is doing.
On October 3, 2017, the Board of Supervisors again committed the County to bold actions to address climate change, passing a resolution to “dramatically reduce carbon emissions and achieve a climate resilient future”, and launched “DRAWDOWN: Marin”.