San Mateo County responds to climate crisis


Katerina Gaines

Members of the club Democracy for America listen as Dave Pine answers questions after his speech.

Concerned members of the San Mateo County Democracy for America (SMCDFA) met with Dave Pine, a member of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, to hear how the county plans to slow the effects of climate change.

The group meets the first Wednesday of every month, discussing different problems that they hope to help with. At the meeting on Nov. 6, they invited Pine to inform members of the San Mateo County’s response to the effects of climate change and how the county aspires to slow its inevitable impact.

Residents in California are growing increasingly concerned about the impacts of climate change as the state experiences more natural disasters, including wildfires.

“Two years ago, my mother was evacuated from Santa Rosa; the firefighters completely saved her neighbors. The fire had devastated everything around them. It was really traumatic,” said Diana Reddy, the club’s secretary.

According to NASA, an increased amount of carbon due to the burning of fossil fuels seen in industrial factories is the leading attribute to the climate crisis. The unnatural surplus of carbon can be identified by hazardous weather patterns.

“Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, we pumped a ton of carbon into the atmosphere. Carbon is measured in parts per million. Back in pre-industrial times, the stable state was 225 parts per million. By 1955 it was up to 315. In 2005 it was 378. Now it broke through 400. It’s still going up,” Pine said.

San Mateo County is working to slow the effects of climate change through new investments and green building codes.

“We’re investing 20 million dollars in electric vehicle charging stations, with a particular focus on getting elastic blocks into apartments and condominiums where it’s harder to have electric vehicles. We adopted a really strict new green building code. We require new buildings to be net-zero energy, which means that they have to produce as much energy as they use. Cal Train is in the process of electrifying the entire rail system. So by 2022, the quarter will be electrified,” Pine said.

Although many people are pushing for action regarding climate change, there are still those who don’t know or acknowledge the threat.

“A lot of people get their information from sources that are either intentionally or unintentionally giving false information. There are people with economic interests, like the fossil fuel industries that are opposed to letting people do something about climate change,” said Marshall Dinowitz, the club’s vice president.

According to Before The Flood, there’s roughly six years to reverse the effects of climate change, making reform essential.

“There’s no bigger issue than climate change. We’re playing with the future of the entire planet, not only us as humans, but every single living organism,” Pine said.