Sonoma’s new Climate Action Commission meet for first time to address Draft Climate Action Plan

On Feb. 8, the group will discuss: How will the city move forward on its promise to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?|

The first ever public meeting of Sonoma’s new Climate Action Commission will take place this Wednesday, Feb. 8.

The commission will advise the council on issues related to reducing greenhouse gasses from the city’s municipal, residential, commercial and industrial sectors and on adapting to climate change within the city’s jurisdiction.

The commission’s seven members represent a variety of experience in sustainability. Members include: Tom Conlon, founder of GeoPraxis and Green Building Studio, Inc.; David Morell, vice president of Sonoma Ecology Center; Philip Hinerman, an environmental and wine lawyer; Allan Nichol, a local architect; Amber Ward, the material planner and production assistant at Cline Family Cellars; Kendall Clemons, student at Sonoma Valley High School; and Leo McCloskey, co-founder of wine consulting company Enologix and an alternate member.

During the meeting, the commission will preset the Draft Climate Action Report, a working draft of potential climate actions adopted by other municipalities in North America designed to achieve greenhouse gas emissions.

The draft contains only potential actions for consideration and study.

“While the city has implemented greenhouse gas emission mitigation measures over the past 15 years, the scientific community continues to issue warnings that the world will experience significant negative impacts from climate change unless substantial actions are taken,” the report states. “In November 2020, the Sonoma City Council approved a Climate Emergency Resolution (CER). A component of this CER was to establish a target of net zero green house gas emissions from government operations and community-wide by 2030. To help achieve this target, a climate action plan (CAP) is needed.”

Included in the report is the city’s planning process — a six-step cycle rooted in community collaboration that is meant to be repeated in order to evaluate its progress. It begins with taking inventory of emissions, establishing a reduction target, identifying actions to achieve the target, adopting actions to achieve the target, implementing the actions and, finally, evaluating progress.

The city has already completed the first three steps in the cycle. During the commissions Wednesday meeting, they will go over the actions identified to help achieve the targets in the report.

The areas in which the city identified action could be taken included: community engagement, transportation, buildings, solid waste, water, government operations and carbon sequestration, the process of capturing, securing and storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

These main actionable points in the report as well as next steps in the climate action planning will be under discussion by the commission’s seven members at the upcoming meeting.

It is expressed in the report that community engagement and commentary is heavily desired and encouraged.

When applications opened in November, the city noted it was specifically seeking professionals with backgrounds in climate action, environmental science, energy efficiency, alternative transportation, environmental justice/equity, sustainable business, waste minimization, environmental education or a related field. There are five core members of the commission as well as one youth member and one alternate.

Other items on the upcoming meeting agenda address electing a chair and vice chair, and creating five Ad Hoc subcommittees to address the actionable areas of the report. The subcommittees will each be made up of, at most, two commission members, and can include non-commission members as well.

The meeting will be held in a hybrid format, with the commission being in-person in the City Council Chambers, located at 177 First St. W. The public can attend wither in person, or via Zoom by accessing the link on the agenda. To read the full agenda, Draft Climate Action Plan and subcommittee details, visit the city’s website at

Contact the reporter Rebecca Wolff at

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