The second revised draft of the Napa County Climate Action Plan (CAP) coming before the Planning Commission reads more as a document protecting Ag production rather than one protecting our environment and climate.

Projections show that it is unlikely Napa Valley will remain a world-class wine grapegrowing area into mid century and certainly by the century’s end. My husband and I are growers. We know climate change will impact us. We are replanting and have yet to decide what grape can best survive into the future.

Already, Napa County's average temperatures have increased 1-2 degrees Celsius. We as growers will definitely be impacted. But what is more important is not what grape will survive, but what can we do to make those lung organs of our earth— our forests and oaks woodlands— resilient in the next 100 years. Cutting them is not an option.

This Climate Action Plan falls far short of what is needed. I understand that the wine industry has had a strong arm in modifying the reach of the CAP. I was appalled to hear a representative of the Napa Valley Vintners thank the Planning Commission for doing what the vintners wanted.

In fact, the North Bay Business Journal quoted a spokesman for the NVV as saying, “Our goal is to ensure that a final CAP will not be a burden on the wine community, the principal industry here, or cause our members to bear the brunt of ways proposed to remedy [greenhouse gas emissions].”

This neutralizing of effective action is at the cost to all of us and our offspring, vintners and growers included. Perhaps the most notable exclusion in the CAP is that of the importance of stopping deforestation when world scientists are calling for such a cessation. Our forests and oak woodlands in our Ag Watershed lands protect our water supply, sequester and hold carbon in the substance of their growth and in the soils, “breathe in" carbon dioxide and “breath out” oxygen, and prevent erosion. Our native vegetation— including our forests and oaks woodlands— is our greatest hope of resilience into the future.

The Climate Action Plan is potentially one of the most important documents that we as a county can adopt at this time. Our climate is changing, and we need to do everything humanly possible to mitigate the extent of the impacts of upcoming increases in temperature.

Worldwide, scientists are saying we have at most 10 or 11 years to cut our greenhouse has emissions in order to prevent the worst of the impact those rising temperatures will have on our environment, health, and sea rise. In fact, we are facing the possibility that continuing life on earth for humans is in question.

In this atmosphere, the time is ripe for another initiative. If the governing bodies cannot or do not act for the common good, then, in California, the people have the right of the initiative. If we cannot protect our environment through the channels of the elected, perhaps it is the next important choice.

Patricia Damery


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