Is Your Town California’s “Coolest?”

Let the Carbon Games begin: cities compete to cut emissions

Phil Schermeister

Sacramento is one of the cities competing to be "Coolest California City."

We must’ve missed the opening ceremonies with the parade of flag-bearing competitors and giant torch-lighting — or maybe it was canceled to save energy. Either way, ten California cities are competing over the next year to reduce their carbon emissions.

Individuals, local governments and businesses will all be involved in the project, called the Cool California Challenge. The Cool California website has a carbon calculator, tips on reducing your footprint and links to rebates. Plus there’s a social media element, so you can envy, goad or cooperate with your neighbors as you see fit.

The competing cities are Chula Vista, Citrus Heights, Davis, Gonzales, Pittsburg, Pleasanton, Sacramento, Santa Cruz, San Jose and Tracy. Participants — whether they’re individuals, companies or other types of organizations — earn points by being more carbon-conscious.

The competition is just for those ten cities, but anyone can use the handy tools the website offers. I tried the carbon calculator. It just took a few minutes to tally up my score, and I have to say, I was pretty pleased with myself and my carbon footprint: 57% the size of comparable households in my area. Oh, but still 275% of the global average. So, there’s room for improvement.

At the end of the year, the city with the most points will win the coveted title, “Coolest California City.” The project was created by the California Air Resources Board and UC Berkeley’s Cool Climate Network.