Monday, April 27, 2009

Berkeley Climate Action Plan Public Meeting

The Berkeley City Council is considering approval of the city's Climate Action Plan for the purpose of environmental review.

A public meeting will be held May 5, 2009 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm in the Council Chambers at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Berkeley.

Read Berkeley's Climate Action Plan here:

Previously on the Northgate Sustainability Forum: Compendium of California Climate Action Plans.

Oakland Energy and Climate Action Plan

The City of Oakland is developing a community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan to identify actions the City can take to help minimize energy use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the Oakland community.

On April 30th, the City will host a second round of public workshops for all members of the Oakland community to learn about and help shape the Plan.

Participants in this workshop will discuss potential energy and climate targets for the Oakland community and provide input on actions to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

Two identical workshops will occur on Thursday, April 30, 2009, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm and from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.

Meeting location:
Oakland City Hall
One Frank Ogawa Plaza (at 14th & Broadway)
Hearing Room 3

For more information on the Oakland Energy and Climate Action Plan, please visit

Friday, April 24, 2009

Global Climate Coalition May Have Suppressed Its Own Expert Opinion

Industry Ignored Its Own Scientists on Climate Change
Andrew C. Revkin, NY Times, April 24, 2009

For more than a decade, the Global Climate Coalition, a group representing industries with profits tied to fossil fuels, led an aggressive lobbying and public relations campaign against the idea that emissions of heat-trapping gases could lead to global warming.

But a document filed in a federal lawsuit demonstrates that the coalition's internal scientific and technical experts were advising that the science backing the role of greenhouse gases in global warming could not be refuted.

“The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied,” the experts wrote in an internal report compiled for the coalition in 1995.

Benjamin D. Santer, a climate scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory whose work for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was challenged by the Global Climate Coalition and allied groups, said the coalition was “engaging in a full-court press at the time, trying to cast doubt on the bottom-line conclusion of the I.P.C.C.” That panel concluded in 1995 that “the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.”

“I’m amazed and astonished,” Dr. Santer said, “that the Global Climate Coalition had in their possession scientific information that substantiated our cautious findings and then chose to suppress that information.”

Read the complete story here:

Thursday, April 23, 2009

An Inconvenient Alternative to Global Warming Theory

Global Warming Heretic?

The New York Times Magazine recently profiled Freeman Dyson regarding his particular views on climate change and global warming — which have tended to affront the sensibilities of those fighting to curb greenhouse gases and who see any alternative views to anthropogenic climate change theory as counter-productive to moving towards a more sustainable way of living on earth.

An excerpt:
Dyson is well aware that “most consider me wrong about global warming.” That educated Americans tend to agree with the conclusion about global warming reached earlier this month at the International Scientific Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen (“inaction is inexcusable”) only increases Dyson’s resistance. Dyson may be an Obama-loving, Bush-loathing liberal who has spent his life opposing American wars and fighting for the protection of natural resources, but he brooks no ideology and has a withering aversion to scientific consensus.

It's a fascinating article about a very robust technical analyst, and certainly elevates the discourse above emotionally driven standoffs between polar bears and polluters.

Read the complete article here:

A follow-on conversation and comments regarding the article can be found here:

Friday, April 17, 2009

EPA a Step Closer to Climate Change Regulations

EPA Clears the Way for Regulation of Greenhouse Gases
John M. Broder, NY Times, April 17, 2009

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has formally declared carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases (GHGs) are pollutants that threaten public health and welfare. The endangerment finding triggers a 60-day comment period, but this is likely the impetus for the regulation of GHGs in the US.

The EPA finding could potentially lead to a wave of new regulations, putting stricter emissions limits on a wide range of enterprises from power plants and oil refineries to automobiles and cement makers.

Even as the EPA begins the process of regulating GHGs (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride) under the Clean Air Act, Congress is engaged in writing wide-ranging energy and climate change legislation that could pre-empt any action taken by the agency. President Obama and Lisa Jackson, the EPA Administrator, have repeatedly said that they prefer that Congress address global warming rather than the EPA addressing it through administrative action.

Read the EPA press release here.

Read the complete NY Times article here.

Similar stories are also running in the Wall Street Journal and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Previously on the Northgate Sustainability Forum:
EPA Takes Another Step Towards Regulating Greenhouse Gases.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Compendium of California Climate Action Plans

Find out more about how California's cities and counties are addressing climate change by reading their sustainability and action plans.




Your favorite city or county not on the list?
Contact your city or county and ask why.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Earth Day - April 22, 2009

How will you celebrate Earth Day?
A carbon-free future based on renewable energy that will end our common dependency on fossil fuels, including coal.
An individual’s commitment to responsible, sustainable consumption.
Creation of a new green economy that lifts people out of poverty by creating millions of quality green jobs and transforms the global education system into a green one.

Earth Expo in Oakland

15th Annual Earth Expo at Frank Ogawa Plaza
Wednesday, April 15, 2009 - 10 am to 2 pm

Explore the booths and vendors around Frank Ogawa Plaza (in front of City Hall) and celebrate a sustainable urban environment with opportunities to connect with dynamic and local green businesses, environmental and social change organizations, artists, government agencies, and community groups.

Learn how to:
  • reduce waste or compost
  • green your workplace
  • drive less
  • build or remodel green
  • reduce energy use
  • become a smarter consumer
  • bring your own bag
  • restore our creeks
  • practice bay-friendly gardening
  • hold a ZeroWaste event
  • reduce your carbon footprint
Bring your mercury thermometers, unwanted medications, batteries and cell phones for recycling.

Make a commitment to take one new green action and receive a pledge pin, reusable bag, special edition poster, or other items!

Visit the Oakland Public Works Environmental Services Division here:

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Conversation with your Neighbor: Daphne Muse

On March 25, 2009, Northgate was fortunate to have a conversation with Daphne Muse about social justice and the meaning of community.

Ms. Muse shared her views on the environmental infrastructure of social justice, pointing out that we cannot continue to fertilize social justice with toxic soil, water it with rising sea levels, or sustain it with polluted air. "It is incumbent upon us to provide a truly sustainable infrastructure, in order for us to cultivate social justice in our everyday lives." We shared ideas and inspirations about how to get involved in your neighborhood, how to learn about historical ecology from your neighbors, how to share technical information with non-technical folks, and the importance of taking pride in your community.

Ms. Muse considers Oakland an unpolished jewel in the crown with elements of beauty that rival the splendor of Italian villages where she's spent time.

Daphne Muse has served as the director of the Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI) at Mills College since 2004. There she works with Student Fellows to provide co-curricular programming and projects that enrich learning, inquiry and scholarship while supporting local, national, and global activism focusing on women and women's rights. In May 2008, she graduated the first cohort of WLI Roundtable Fellows. Conducting cutting-edge work in media, gender studies and environmentalism, those Fellows are now positioning themselves to make remarkable inroads across the country and around the globe.

Ms. Muse is the author of four books and more than 300 feature articles, essays, reviews, and commentaries for major newspapers, academic journals and online zines. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle, Black Scholar, San Jose Mercury News, and the Washington Post, and has been aired on NPR, Radio One, and Pacifica. In 2008, Muse was nominated for a National Women's Book Association Award and also nominated by President Janet L. Holmgren for a Civic Ventures Purpose Prize. She has been a guest speaker and served on panels at Google, the McNair Scholars Conference, Case Western Reserve University, UC Berkeley, and Rutgers University.

For twenty years, Muse served as president of the Fruitvale San Antonio Community Association in and conjunction with that role developed the Annual Halloween Book Giveaway. For more than 25 years, Muse gave away new children's books, some of them autographed by award-winning authors including Gwendolyn Brooks, Thatcher Hurd, and Virginia Hamilton, to children in the community and sometimes their parents, too.

Thank you, Daphne, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to have what we hope will be the first of many conversations with us!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Green Remediation Resources

April is Green Remediation month at EPA's Technology Innovation Program Contaminated Site Clean-Up Information website (CLU-IN)

During April 2009, CLU-IN will focus on "green" resources. In celebration of Earth Day, CLU-IN and TechDirect (CLU-IN's monthly newsletter) will draw attention to resources that promote energy efficiency, alternative energy sources, greenhouse gas reductions, water conservation and quality, waste reduction, material recycling or reuse, reduced consumption of all natural resources, and other sustainable strategies for contaminated site cleanup.

Resources include:
  • Webinar archives for previous green remediation seminars and presentations
  • Links to profiles and case studies of green remediation sites
  • The Green Remediation Best Management Practice Tool Kit, which offers a handful of links to agency fact sheets
  • EPA's Green Remediation Primer
  • EPA fact sheet, Incorporating Sustainable Environmental Practices into Site Remediation of Contaminated Sites
  • EPA fact sheet of BMPs for excavation and surface restoration
  • Green Remediation fact sheet
  • National Association of Remedial Project Managers (NARPM) Green Remediation Training manual
Comments and feedback are also requested on the following EPA initiatives:

EPA's Green Remediation Standard

EPA is considering the development of voluntary standards and a verification system for "green cleanups" that would guide and stimulate efficient, cost-effective, and low-impact site remediation by encouraging property owners, developers, and communities to go beyond state and federal requirements for cleanup and land revitalization projects. EPA is soliciting stakeholder feedback on the framework through April 30th.
- see below for more information -

EPA Region 9's LUST Cleanup Footprint Calculator
EPA Region 9 is working on a tool that quantifies environmental externalities that result from the cleanup of a Leaking UST site in California. Output metrics will include green house gas emissions, energy usage, and water usage. This calculator will capture relevant information and calculate environmental benefits of the most common remedial technologies used at LUST sites, including Soil Vapor Extraction, Pump and Treat, Soil Excavation, and Dual-Phase Extraction. Feedback and comments are solicited on their wiki page.

EPA Region 2's Clean and Green policy
The aim of this policy is to enhance the environmental benefits of Superfund cleanups. The core principles of the plan include:
* Use of 100% of electricity from renewable sources
* Concrete made with Coal Combustion Products (CCP) replacing a portion of traditional cement
* Clean diesel fuels and technologies
* Methane capture at landfill sites

- More on the EPA Green Remediation Standard -
The framework of the EPA's Green Remediation Standard will be a starting point for an ASTM subcommittee under E50-04. The CLU-IN website includes a 1-page summary of the project, the draft framework, and a feature to allow individuals to provide input on the draft framework. This feedback feature is not a formal comment period where the EPA will respond to input.
EPA's cleanup programs plan to collaborate with the ASTM International to develop a green cleanup standard through a consensus process. EPA worked with its State partners to develop the draft framework that outlines desired outcomes for a green cleanup standard. The standard will establish a uniform approach, implemented voluntarily, to encourage property owners, responsible parties, developers, and communities to use green cleanup practices during project planning and implementation. EPA plans to finalize the framework and post it in June 2009. ASTM International established a subcommittee and will use EPA’s proposed framework to kick-off the effort. To learn more, go to ASTM International’s website: