News

Guest opinion: A call to action to combat climate change

As we mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we are inspired by those who led the environmental movement to make the air we breathe and the water we drink cleaner and safer. 

Visionaries such as former Peninsula Congressman Pete McCloskey led a bipartisan call to action to clean up our environment, resulting in the formation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - signed into existence by President Richard Nixon in December 1970 - just eight months after the inaugural Earth Day. 

We are similarly inspired by the profound, widespread and creative efforts to answer the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. From Gov. Newsom’s decisive leadership to the volunteer activities organized in neighborhoods throughout San Mateo County, we have responded with solidarity, vision and compassion.

That same collective spirit should guide and motivate our ongoing work to mitigate another crisis threatening our planet: climate change. 

Today, we face an inflection point. Amid the rising levels of greenhouse gasses and the accompanying increased frequency of extreme weather events, the dangers of a warming planet are apparent for all to see. This is a crisis that our Earth Day pioneers five decades ago could not have imagined.

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support Almanac Online for as little as $5/month.

Learn more

Last September, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors declared a climate emergency, joining more than 1,400 international, national and local jurisdictions who have done the same. These declarations recognize the dire warnings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which predicts global temperatures to rise by 1.5 degrees Celsius as early as 2030, just 10 years from now. 

For San Mateo County, higher global temperatures could cause sea levels to rise 3 feet or more by 2100, contribute to increasingly extreme weather such as intense rainfall, storms and heat, and also increase the risk of wildfires which are already wreaking havoc throughout the state.

While the situation is sobering, there are reasons for optimism as we have taken many significant actions to combat climate change right here in our county.

Peninsula Clean Energy, San Mateo County’s electricity provider, has nearly reached its goal of providing 100% greenhouse gas-free power for all customers and is moving swiftly toward all-renewable power. Portola Valley chose to adopt 100% renewable electricity for all town residents when Peninsula Clean Energy launched in 2016.

Moreover, Peninsula Clean Energy’s programs and investments are encouraging the electrification of transportation and buildings to replace fossil fuels with clean electricity. Thanks to rebates and other programs and investments, we are moving away from fossil fuels in our vehicles, offices and homes.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Sign up

As we work to combat climate change, the vision of environmental stewardship that led to the first Earth Day remains as relevant and compelling today as it was a full half-century earlier.

We can’t let up now. We must keep the electric vehicle pedal firmly to the metal and do all we can to decarbonize our economy and meet the climate change crisis with the same resolve and unanimity of purpose as we are demonstrating in confronting the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Jeff Aalfs is mayor of Portola Valley, and Dave Pine represents District 1 on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. Both serve on the board of Peninsula Clean Energy.

The Almanac will publish guest opinions online every weekend while the publication of our print edition is suspended. Submit signed op-eds of no more than 600 words to letters@almanacnews.com by Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Follow AlmanacNews.com and The Almanac on Twitter @almanacnews, Facebook and on Instagram @almanacnews for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Guest opinion: A call to action to combat climate change

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Wed, Apr 22, 2020, 1:13 pm

As we mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we are inspired by those who led the environmental movement to make the air we breathe and the water we drink cleaner and safer. 

Visionaries such as former Peninsula Congressman Pete McCloskey led a bipartisan call to action to clean up our environment, resulting in the formation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - signed into existence by President Richard Nixon in December 1970 - just eight months after the inaugural Earth Day. 

We are similarly inspired by the profound, widespread and creative efforts to answer the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. From Gov. Newsom’s decisive leadership to the volunteer activities organized in neighborhoods throughout San Mateo County, we have responded with solidarity, vision and compassion.

That same collective spirit should guide and motivate our ongoing work to mitigate another crisis threatening our planet: climate change. 

Today, we face an inflection point. Amid the rising levels of greenhouse gasses and the accompanying increased frequency of extreme weather events, the dangers of a warming planet are apparent for all to see. This is a crisis that our Earth Day pioneers five decades ago could not have imagined.

Last September, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors declared a climate emergency, joining more than 1,400 international, national and local jurisdictions who have done the same. These declarations recognize the dire warnings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which predicts global temperatures to rise by 1.5 degrees Celsius as early as 2030, just 10 years from now. 

For San Mateo County, higher global temperatures could cause sea levels to rise 3 feet or more by 2100, contribute to increasingly extreme weather such as intense rainfall, storms and heat, and also increase the risk of wildfires which are already wreaking havoc throughout the state.

While the situation is sobering, there are reasons for optimism as we have taken many significant actions to combat climate change right here in our county.

Peninsula Clean Energy, San Mateo County’s electricity provider, has nearly reached its goal of providing 100% greenhouse gas-free power for all customers and is moving swiftly toward all-renewable power. Portola Valley chose to adopt 100% renewable electricity for all town residents when Peninsula Clean Energy launched in 2016.

Moreover, Peninsula Clean Energy’s programs and investments are encouraging the electrification of transportation and buildings to replace fossil fuels with clean electricity. Thanks to rebates and other programs and investments, we are moving away from fossil fuels in our vehicles, offices and homes.

As we work to combat climate change, the vision of environmental stewardship that led to the first Earth Day remains as relevant and compelling today as it was a full half-century earlier.

We can’t let up now. We must keep the electric vehicle pedal firmly to the metal and do all we can to decarbonize our economy and meet the climate change crisis with the same resolve and unanimity of purpose as we are demonstrating in confronting the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Jeff Aalfs is mayor of Portola Valley, and Dave Pine represents District 1 on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. Both serve on the board of Peninsula Clean Energy.

Comments

whatever
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 22, 2020 at 2:08 pm
whatever, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 22, 2020 at 2:08 pm
1 person likes this

Beautiful photo Michelle. Thank you.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Not sure?