Installing solar panels on the schools in the Dixie School District was much more than a project in energy-efficiency. It also gave students a close-up way to learn about climate change—and how to reverse its effects. Read more.

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MCF Strategic Plan:

Reducing the Impact of Climate Change

In California and Marin County, the potential consequences of climate change could impact its climate and weather (including the availability of water for residential, commercial, and agricultural uses), sea levels, public health, electricity demands, infrastructure, and the overall economy.

In Marin, per capita CO2 emissions are higher than both the state and regional averages. Vehicular travel and consumption of energy and water continue to increase in Marin County, thereby accounting for more than 90% of the carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.

Marin is well positioned at the local level to reduce its contribution to climate change and can create models that, if successful, can be replicated across the region, state, and nation.

Beyond reducing CO2 emissions, taking action can reduce the cost to operate our homes and buildings and significantly improve indoor air quality, while creating employment opportunities, increasing local revenue and household incomes, and stimulating economic growth.

Strategy 1: Assess the feasibility of and develop a replicable model for soil carbon sequestration on Marin rangelands

Sequestration of carbon in rangeland soils is one of the leading potential strategies to permanently remove carbon from the atmosphere, thereby slowing or reversing climate change. This is a low-cost, low-risk approach that improves the productivity and sustainability of rangelands. Marin County has more than 170,000 acres of rangelands with soil types, vegetation, and land uses ideal for soil carbon sequestration. And the agricultural community has existing capacity, infrastructure, and partners to assess the feasibility of soil carbon sequestration and to build a replicable model.

Under this strategy, MCF is supporting research as well as efforts to enlist local landowners in taking part in the research and, ultimately, to implement effective practices.

Grants made since the implementation of MCF's Strategic Plan:

Strategy 1 Grants
Organization Description Awarded Amount
Marin Carbon Project To conduct experiments to confirm soil carbon sequestration potential in Marin rangeland soils. $400,000.00
Marin Carbon Project To conduct experiments to confirm soil carbon sequestration potential in Marin rangeland soils. $240,000.00
Marin Carbon Project To support an analysis of the economic viability of soil management techniques that sequester airborne carbon. $35,000.00
Marin Carbon Project To support data collection and analysis. $45,000.00
Marin Carbon Project To support efforts to research carbon sequestration in West Marin. $356,777.00
Marin State Park Association To support Friends of China Camp. $40,000.00
Regents of the University of California Davis To document the contributions of stream and river restoration to the sequestration of soil and vegetative carbon and nitrogen in Marin rangeland systems. $55,000.00
Total Grants Strategy 1: $1,171,777.00

Strategy 2: Decrease energy and water use and increase clean and renewable energy technologies

Energy and water use in buildings (commercial, residential, schools, and nonprofit) is the second largest source of CO2e emissions in Marin County. As a result, the implementation of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in existing homes and buildings is a primary way to reduce CO2 emissions in the county, because these older buildings account for 96% of all buildings and are not required to undertake energy and water efficiency measures. Decreasing energy and water use also provides significant cost savings, making it attractive even without considering the environmental benefits.

There are two strategies MCF is funding under this strategy: One focuses on providing financing, technical support, and planning and management support for energy-efficiency projects in local affordable housing projects, nonprofits, and schools. The second supports research, the development of green building policies, and efforts to gain support for those policies in the county.

Grants made since the implementation of MCF's Strategic Plan:

Strategy 2 Grants
Organization Description Awarded Amount
California Interfaith Power and Light To educate congregations about strategies and resources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. $50,000.00
California Interfaith Power and Light To support energy efficiency programs in Marin County. $9,000.00
California Interfaith Power and Light To support energy efficiency programs in Marin County. $12,000.00
City of San Rafael To support the Resilient Businesses climate change program. $100,000.00
Conservation Corps North Bay To provide safety-net funding. $200,000.00
Conservation Corps North Bay To support Cool the Earth. $12,000.00
Conservation Corps North Bay To support Curb Your Carbon, a collaborative campaign to educate children and their families about how to reduce carbon emissions in Marin. $60,000.00
Conservation Corps North Bay To support Curb Your Carbon, a collaborative campaign to educate children and their families about how to reduce carbon emissions in Marin. $40,000.00
Conservation Corps North Bay To support its energy efficiency program. $18,000.00
Cool the Earth To support climate change projects. $20,000.00
Cool the Earth To support Cool the Earth. $85,000.00
Cool the Earth To support Curb Your Carbon, a collaborative campaign to educate children and their families about how to reduce carbon emissions in Marin. $60,000.00
Cool the Earth To support Curb Your Carbon, a collaborative campaign to educate children and their families about how to reduce carbon emissions in Marin. $155,000.00
Cool the Earth To support Curb Your Carbon, a collaborative campaign to educate children and their families about how to reduce carbon emissions in Marin. $130,000.00
Dixie School District To support planning and installation of photovoltaic systems on four Dixie School District buildings. $580,000.00
EAH To support the Green Retrofit pilot. $250,000.00
GRID Alternatives To address barriers to acquiring solar energy for low-income single family househoulds in Marin County. $50,000.00
GRID Alternatives To support energy efficiency. $18,000.00
Marin Climate and Energy Partnership To identify and develop energy use policies that can be implemented countywide, and provide technical assistance to selected municipalities to help them set greenhouse gas reduction targets and develop strategies to achieve them. $80,000.00
Marin Climate and Energy Partnership To identify and develop energy use policies. $80,000.00
Marin Community Foundation To fund consultants for climate change initiative. $55,000.00
Marin Community Foundation To support legal and financial assistance for Marin PACE program. $40,000.00
Rising Sun Energy Center To support energy efficiency. $25,000.00
Rising Sun Energy Center To support the summer 2010 youth employment and community efficiency retrofit program in Marin. $8,000.00
San Rafael City Schools To Support SRCS Solar Schools Initiative: Solar Energy, Efficiency, and Education. $205,000.00
Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation To support the climate change project. $95,000.00
Strategic Energy Innovations To support Curb Your Carbon, a collaborative campaign to educate children and their families about how to reduce carbon emissions in Marin. $60,000.00
Strategic Energy Innovations To support Curb Your Carbon, a collaborative campaign to educate children and their families about how to reduce carbon emissions in Marin. $60,000.00
Strategic Energy Innovations To support its climate change project. $40,000.00
Strategic Energy Innovations To support its climate change project. $28,000.00
Total Grants Strategy 2: $2,625,000.00

Strategy 3: Decrease carbon emissions due to travel in Marin County

Transportation accounts for the largest source of CO2e emissions in Marin and the Bay Area (approximately 1.9 million metric tons of CO2, or 60% of total CO2e emissions in Marin County). Marin residents and leaders have strong interests in environmental and transportation-related issues, with a strong desire to improve air quality, lessen traffic, and improve transit options and mobility.

Under this strategy, MCF is funding efforts to provide educational and technical assistance to K-12 schools to shift students to biking, walking, carpooling, and transit, with a focus on middle and high schools. And it is providing funding to organizations for research, convening, and advocacy to develop and build support for implementing high-impact CO2-reduction strategies related to transportation.

Grants made since the implementation of MCF's Strategic Plan:

Strategy 3 Grants
Organization Description Awarded Amount
Ecology Action To engage key leaders to develop a shared vision, aligned goals and strategies, and robust indicators for addressing climate change and GHG reductions in Marin. $75,000.00
EV Communities Alliance To support the Marin Electric Vehicle project. $100,000.00
Marin Community Foundation To support consultant work for the Reducing Climate Change Strategic Initiative. $100,000.00
North Bay Children's Center To provide program support. $85,000.00
Transportation Authority of Marin To decrease car travel to schools in Marin. $175,000.00
Transportation Authority of Marin To decrease car travel to schools in Marin. $175,000.00
Total Grants Strategy 3: $710,000.00
Total Climate Change Grants: $4,506,777.00