How will climate change effect Benicia?
Scientists have been working for decades to track the increase of greenhouse gases (GHGs) on Earth's atmosphere and the subsequent rise of temperatures. Warming of the climate is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice and rising global average sea level. These conditions are also observed as regional changes in climate including temperature, humidity, rainfall, wind, and severe weather events.
Benicia may experience the following effects:
- warmer temperatures,
- reduced annual precipitation leading to drought,
- reduced snow pack that may lead to reduced water quantities available for hydroelectric power generation and agricultural irrigation,
- rising sea levels that could impact the built environment for areas near bodies of water including damage to the port,
- increased levels of harmful air pollutants, and
- various impacts to plant and animal species as a result of habitat alteration.
How is the City preparing for climate change?
In 2007, the Mayor signed the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement and committed the City to reduce GHG emissions through a range of local action including land-use policies, urban forest restoration, and public information campaigns. Following that action, the City joined ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainablity and committed to follow ICLEI's 5 Milestone Process for Climate Protection:
- Conduct a basleine emissions inventory and forecast,
- Adopt an emissions reduction target for the forecast year,
- Develop a climate action plan,
- Implement plan policies and measures, and
- Monitor and verify results.
Since 2007, the City has completed all 5 Milestones and reported its progress toward meeting reduction goals. In addition, the City continues to identify and implement projects that increase the resiliency of the City. These projects include: increasing localized energy production, local food production, water conservation efforts, and bicycle infrastructure as well as improving the existing building stock to be more energy efficient and resilient to climate impacts.
What is a Carbon Dioxide Equivalent Metric Ton?
Carbon dioxide equivalency is a conversion method used to express the global warming potential (GWP) of multiple greenhouse gases using a consistent unit of measurement, carbon dioxide equivalent metric ton (MTCO2e). The measurement is expressed in terms of the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that would have the same GWP as the mixture. For example, methane is twenty-five times more potent than carbon dioxide, giving it a GWP of 25, expressed as 25 MTCO2e.