Climate change is one of the most significant challenges facing society today. The City is working hard to institute policies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adapt to a hotter planet, but we can all pitch in on an individual basis. Read on to see how you can help.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says we must cut GHG emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 to stave off the worst effects of climate change.
The State of California has set an interim GHG reduction target of 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. Belvedere is on the right trajectory to achieving this target, but we need to keep working to stay on track. Home energy and personal transportation are responsible for the lion's share of our community's local GHG emissions.
How Can You Help?
Here are some things you can do to help:
- Understand Your Carbon Footprint: Understanding your current carbon footprint is a great way to start your "greening" journey. Here is a free tool. Better yet, sign up for a free course with Resilient Neighborhoods to learn simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Assess Your Home's Energy Efficiency: Outdated appliances, poor insulation, and leaky ducts are just some causes of high energy bills and unnecessary GHG emissions. Chat with a free home energy advisor at the Bay Area Regional Energy Network to learn more.
- Enroll With Marin Clean Energy: Belvedere residents have a choice of providers for energy service; PG&E or Marin Clean Energy (MCE). MCE is a public agency serving customers across four Bay Area counties that offers a substantially cleaner basket of energy than PG&E at competitive, stable rates. It also provides discounts for low-income customers.
- Invest in Solar + Storage: Over the last decade, California has made great strides in investing in solar energy at the residential, commercial, and industrial levels. The focus has now shifted to storage, allowing excess daytime solar production to be stored in batteries and discharged when there is less clean energy on the grid, thereby reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. If you are installing rooftop solar, please consider adding battery storage. You can learn more here.
- Buy an Electric Car and Avoid Charging Between 4-9 PM: Many of our residents already drive electric cars or plug-in hybrids, which is wonderful, but please remember that if you plugin during the 4-9 pm peak demand window, you may very well be charging with "dirty" energy (unless you have battery storage). California's grid has yet to be at a point of supplying 24/7 clean energy, no matter who you contract with for power. Our clean energy comes predominantly from solar and wind and demand outpaces clean supply during the 4-9 pm peak demand window. Here is a great tool for tracking the greenest time of day to charge.
- Conserve Water: Using water wisely is critical to ensuring a reliable supply for the future. To help residents save water and money, Marin Municipal Water District is offering rebates for high-efficiency toilets and clothes washers, lawn replacement, rain barrels, laundry-to-landscape graywater system components, and more.
- Reduce Waste Going to Landfill: Zero Waste Marin provides valuable tips for making more thoughtful purchases and correctly discarding unwanted items, moving Marin County closer to its zero waste goal. Under state law, all residents are now required to compost organic waste properly (putting food scraps and soiled paper into your yard waste bin), with enforcement beginning on January 1, 2024.
- Fly Less: While not strictly local, many people don't realize the enormous weight of GHG emissions from flying. Flying return in economy from San Francisco to New York creates more GHG emissions than driving 10,000 miles in a typical car, more than many of us drive in an entire year! Flying business doubles the burden. Taking just one less long-haul flight a year makes a huge difference.