On February 18, the Napa City Council will hold a public workshop to discuss priority actions for 2022.  We were very honored to be asked by several of the Councilmembers for our thoughts.  We submitted our recommendations to the Mayor and Councilmembers in the letter below and look forward to working with the City on climate issues this year.

February 4, 2022

Dear Mayor Sedgley and Napa City Council Members,

We would like to express our deep appreciation for your focus on climate change as a priority in 2021.  We have listed actions below that we ask you to prioritize in 2022. We are happy to meet with you to discuss any of these actions in more depth before the February 18 public meeting.

Two other Napa County cities, Calistoga and American Canyon, have moved forward to adopt a Climate Emergency Resolution with the goal of being climate neutral by 2030. While specific costs remain undefined, we agree with Antoinette Maillard of Calistoga’s Green Committee who said, “I think whatever the expense is, it’s going to be a lot less than doing nothing, which is going to cost us our future.” 

In addition, “Green Infrastructure” or “nature-based solutions” in many cases may be less expensive than current choices for the City’s purchases of goods and services. However, we are mindful of the need to weigh costs against benefits. We would like to point out that reducing Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (such as methane and black carbon) will achieve powerful near-term benefits.  Actions 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6 will all contribute to reducing these extremely warming pollutants (methane is 84 times more warming than CO2over a 20-year span; black carbon is up to 4,000 times more warming1).   

Please note that three of our recommendations (1, 7, 8) align with the requests made by the Schools For Climate Action.

  1. Action: Adopt a Resolution declaring a Climate Emergency and commit to a goal of Net Zero Climate Pollution by or before 2030.

Community Benefit: Will provide policy framework for City Council, Planning Commission, City Staff, etc. to use to evaluate all planning and policy decisions with the goal of combatting climate change and promoting sustainability. The Resolution will reinforce the policies in the 2040 General Plan’s Climate Change and Sustainability Element.

Cost: low

Resources: Calistoga Climate Emergency Declaration,

American Canyon Climate Emergency Declaration

  • Action: Create a staff position in the City Manager’s office to focus on climate change and sustainability issues.

Community Benefit: This position would liaise with other Departments (Planning, Public     Works, Procurement) to develop policies and funding sources and work to implement the upcoming General Plan policies in a logical and efficient manner.

Cost: TBD

Resources: The City had a Sustainability Coordinator funded by a US Department of Energy block grant who worked on the City’s 2012 Sustainability Plan.  The 2012 Sustainability Plan offers an excellent starting point such that work need not start from scratch. https://www.cityofnapa.org/DocumentCenter/View/925/Sustainability-Plan-Initiatives-PDF?bidId=

  • Action: Adopt a ban on gasoline-powered leaf blowers.

Community Benefit: Reduced local air pollutants, noise pollution, and GHG emissions (estimated at ~62.6 MTCO2e/year for the City of Napa based on Yountville Climate Action Plan and scaled up for Napa’s population). A local ban will provide stronger public health and environmental protections than AB1346 which will only halt the sale (but not the use) of gasoline-powered lawn equipment and only goes into effect in 2024.

Cost: For community outreach and rebate program. Yountville provided a $30,000 rebate program. Calistoga will have ~$15,000 available for rebates. Grant/state funding for a City of Napa rebate program is being explored.

Resources: Yountville Ordinance, Calistoga Ordinance, Yountville Climate Action Plan (page 90)

  • Action: Adopt Reusable Foodware and Waste Reduction Ordinance.

Community Benefit: Eliminating the use of plastic and polystyrene reduces greenhouse gas emissions from plastic production and transportation. Compostable foodware will reduce food waste going to landfills (which produces methane) and help Napa comply with SB 1383. The recent state law, AB 1276, only requires that restaurants ask a customer if they want the plastic utensils, straws, etc. instead of giving them out automatically. This state law will still allow the use of plastic foodware and the consequent impact of their manufacture and waste.

Cost: low

Resources: Draft ordinance prepared by Napa Climate NOW! Waste Reduction Team

  • Action: Update High Performance Building Regulations and provide information to the public about opportunities and incentives for retrofitting existing buildings to be more energy efficient.

Community Benefit: Current city regulations address water conservation only. Requiring energy efficiency measures and the proposed BAAQMD restriction of no new natural gas appliances will reduce GHG emissions by reducing building energy consumption and by reducing natural gas infrastructure (source of methane leaks). This would provide developers, planning staff and Planning Commissioners with a path to decarbonize the built environment.

Cost: moderate

Resource: Austin Energy Green Building

  • Action: Divest city funds from fossil fuel industry.

Community Benefit: Divesting from fossil fuel companies helps to keep fossil fuels in the ground and moves financial resources to renewable energy.

Cost: low

Resources: Forbes (Feb 20, 2021). Napa Climate NOW! would be willing to investigate the City’s current banking service providers and their relations with the fossil fuel industry as well as research alternative, greener banking service providers. This research may require the assistance of state legislators to get access to information available through the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.

  • Action: Adopt a ban on additional fossil fuel gas stations.

Community Benefit: Aligns with state’s shift to zero-emission vehicles. Prevents future “brown sites” with soil contaminated by underground gasoline tank leaks.

Cost: low

Resources: American Canyon Ordinance, Calistoga Ordinance

  • Action: Adopt a “Time Out for Trees” Resolution to encourage the County to halt deforestation until tree removal mitigations can be strengthened.

Community Benefit: The City’s support via the Resolution will encourage the County to provide greater protection for Napa’s remaining forests, which provide ongoing ecoservices including the protection and enhancement of carbon sequestration, erosion control, and ecosystem/habitat protection.

Cost: low

Resources: Calistoga’s Resolution on Protecting Napa’s Forests and Woodlands to Combat Climate Change

We also support prioritizing the following actions:

  • Adopt the 2040 General Plan with a strong Climate Change and Sustainability Element.
  • Build out the City’s pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure (e.g., Safe Routes to Schools, Slow Streets).
  • Increase the number of EV charging stations.
  • Move forward with an Urban Forest plan.
  • Move forward with a biomass facility for wood waste.

Thank you for your time and attention to this critical issue.

Napa Climate NOW! Steering Committee

Lynne Baker, Co-Chair
Marilyn Knight-Mendelson, Co-Chair
Christina Benz
Jim Wilson
Linda Brown
Celeste Mirassou