Climate Change

The Climate Committee will promote and employ State and local Sierra Club Climate Change policies to help build a fossil-free, sustainable future for California. We will address relevant environmental, health, economic and equity issues in our work. We will attend the Sierra Club California State Energy-Climate Committee (ECC) weekly meetings to gain a broader perspective and platform, while focusing primarily on local issues. The Committee Chair shall inform other Committee Chairs when the Committee works on issues or items which likely bridge across various Committee areas. As well, the Committee expects to collaborate with other local Sierra Club committees when there are matters of shared interest or action, and also collaborate when appropriate with local non-Sierra Club climate-issues groups, such as the Santa Cruz Climate Action Network, Santa Cruz for Bernie and Citizens Climate Lobby. Other issues may arise:


  • Reduce CA and/or Santa Cruz County GHG emissions
  • Reduce natural gas consumption
  • Reduce petroleum use
  • Support renewable and alternative energy and energy conservation
  • Increase carbon sequestration, support the conservation, creation and protection of carbon-sequestering habitats
  • Support emergency climate change mitigations, adaptations, and sustainable communities, including the adoption and implementation of local Climate Action Plans
  • Increase climate literacy and education for members, students and the general public 
  • Monitor and promote National and State Sierra Club Policies and Programs regarding climate change
  • Encourage environmental justice awareness and training among Sierra Club members and in all club programs
  • Support and promote the reduction of adverse environmental impacts and harms to disadvantaged communities 
  • Educate Sierra Club members on climate change issues, effective actions, and mitigating strategies


More specifically, the Climate Committee shall focus on, but is not limited to, the following work: 

  • Address climate change related issues in the county’s forested, rural and unincorporated areas. 
    • Address PG&E’s excessive tree-cutting and vegetation management programs which exacerbate existing forestry and watershed issues and impair the post-CZU fire recovery of these ecosystems. 
    • Join the Sierra Club Campaign to hold PG&E responsible for infrastructure failure in wildfires. See the Camp Fire Public Report.
  • Re-establish the Youth Transit Pass legislation (AB 1350) in 2022. CA State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez was the original author of the bill which was dropped due to the pandemic. The original campaign had the State Sierra Club endorsement. Work to find a new sponsor to reintroduce the bill this Spring.
  •  Urge city officials to address sea level rise referencing the Critical Infrastructure at Risk Sea Level Rise Planning Guidance for California’s Coastal Zone per the California Coastal Commission. 
  • Promote updated planning for the impact of sea level rise and coastline retreat for the people currently housed in the Beach Flats, lower Ocean and Neary Lagoon areas. Raise awareness of this issue locally.
  • Encourage planning for relocation of the lower section of the wastewater treatment plant. 
  • Ensure the Army Corps of Engineers review the levees for resistance to sea level rise, flooding from intense rainstorms, and king tides. 
  • Insist officials investigate the existing Beach Flats black-mold issue caused by saltwater intrusion.
  • Examine coastal zone building codes in regards to climate-caused sea level rise. Encourage structural engineers to alter their current sea level maps. (There are no jurisdictional guidelines).
  • Encourage people to call the Governor’s office and to submit comments to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) regarding the Net Energy Monitoring 3.0 Proposal (NEM3), which will increase fees on rooftop solar and decimate the solar industry.
  • Work on the State Sierra Club Divestment Campaign locally. Lobby the city council to pass a divestment resolution. The State Sierra Club has a toolkit for this campaign with draft emails, draft resolutions and contact information for experts.
  • Raise awareness of wetlands as a carbon sink. Wetlands help to sequester carbon. Although peatlands, a type of wetland, cover only 3% of the surface area of all land on earth, they contain 550Gt of carbon – twice as much as all of the world’s forest biomass combined. 
  • Alert local membership when items from the ECC arise which are applicable to local issues.