Frequently Asked Questions

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:

  1. Conduct a basleine emissions inventory and forecast,
  2. Adopt an emissions reduction target for the forecast year,
  3. Develop a climate action plan,
  4. Implement plan policies and measures, and
  5. 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.

What is a climate action plan?
A climate action plan (CAP) details the strategies that Benicia may take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve its emissions reduction targets.

The CAP:

  • explains the context in which the plan was developed including science, policy, and related legislation,
  • the planning process,
  • the data that went into the emission inventories,
  • emissions reduction focus areas and goals, and
  • specific strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

What is the Community Sustainability Commission?

The purpose of the commission is to educate, advocate and provide oversight for integrated solutions that balance economic, ecological, and social well-being, both now and in the future. The commission's duties are as follows:·        

  • Oversee the implementation of the Benicia Climate Action Plan,        

  • Provide recommendations regarding the distribution of funds from the 2008 Valero Good Neighbor Steering Committee Settlement Agreement and from future funding sources allocated to support the efforts of making Benicia a more sustained community,        

  • Advise the City Council on matters related to sustainability, climate change, and greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions, including recommendations on forthcoming innovative programs, and

  • Facilitate public outreach, education, and collaboration with regards to community sustainability to guide Benicia's transition towards being a sustainable, economically vibrant, and green community. 

How do programs get funded? 

The Valero Good Neighbor Steering Committee Settlement Agreement allows for allocations from the settlement fund for community-wide benefit: for projects or programs expressly designated by the Agreement and for projects or programs proposed by individual citizens, non-profit organizations, Benicia Unified School District, local businesses and the City, which will conserve water and energy, implement strategies of the City of Benicia CAP and reduce GHG emissions.

The commission makes granting recommendations to the City Council based fairly on the individual merits of proposed projects or programs, as evaluated under set criteria and established application procedures.  Grant applicatinos are reviewed by the entire commission and must be finally approved by the City Council.

How do I apply for a grant?

Applications are accepted during Funding Cycles.  There is not currently a funding cycle scheduled.   All application procedures must be followed carefully according to instruction given.  A downloadable application form is available here