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February 3, 2010 > Newark Climate Action Plan

Newark Climate Action Plan

By Meenu Gupta

Climate change poses a potential threat to the community and to the environment. At the City Council meeting held on January 28, the City of Newark adopted the Climate Action Plan (CAP) and presented the plan enlisting changes required to reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. Residents and businesses of Newark should participate in emission reducing actions to help mitigate the risks posed by climate change. The amount of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions from activities taking place within the City can be reduced by a five step process. These five steps are to take an emission inventory, set reduction goals, prepare an action plan, implement the plan and monitor the results, according to Susie Woodstock, Maintenance Superintendent.

"In 2007 we completed the emissions inventory, using 2005 data as our baseline, inventory is used for two purposes in the climate action plan: as a baseline to measure future reduction results and to see where our current emissions are coming from," she informed. "For instance the City-wide inventory showed that the transportation sector is the biggest emission producer in the City, therefore City-wide we need to focus on vehicles" said Woodstock.

Newark received a grant in 2008 from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Climate Protection Grant Program to fund a position for climate protection issues. The CAP set the following goals for the City: A 5 percent reduction in City and community emissions by July 2015 and municipal emissions levels by July 2012. The community-wide target is a 15 percent decrease from 2005 levels by 2020.

"It is very important for everyone in the community to take inventory of their actions that create emissions," said Woodstock. Websites that help citizens take their personal inventory can be found by doing a search under 'personal carbon footprints'. Using alternative fuels or fuel efficient vehicles, energy conservation, adopting environmentally friendly purchasing policy, looking into solar lighting, water conservation are some of the ways to reduce emissions. "Community participation is the only way to significantly reduce emissions," she said. Carpooling to work, energy conservation, walking, biking, using public transit are some other effective ways of emissions reduction.

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