The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors on January 26 adopted the Government Operations Climate Action Plan (GOCAP), a comprehensive strategy to address the climate crisis making significant reductions to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035. The passage of the GOCAP establishes the County of San Mateo as a regional climate leader with the strongest climate action plan for government operations among the Bay Area counties.
“San Mateo County is taking bold action to reach carbon neutrality by 2035, 10 years before the target date set by the state,” said Supervisor Dave Pine. “By committing to this ambitious goal, we are issuing a call to action to our cities and public agencies, businesses, and local organizations to quickly transition to a low-carbon future and a green economy.”
San Mateo County communities are already experiencing the impacts of climate change including rising temperatures, wildfires and hazardous air quality, extreme storms, sea level rise, and coastal erosion. These climate impacts are most acutely felt by children, older adults, those with medical conditions, communities of color, and residents with unstable economic or housing situations.
“It is important to protect County residents, especially those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change,” said County Board of Supervisors President David Canepa.
The GOCAP charts a pathway for the County to reduce emissions from government operations by 80 percent by 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality, a 100 percent reduction by 2035. The primary sources of GHG emissions generated by government operations are from the combustion of natural gas in buildings and facilities (44.5 percent) and the use of gasoline in vehicles from employee commutes (41.8 percent) and from the County vehicle fleet (12.7 percent).
The GOCAP focuses on reducing emissions from three sectors: energy and water, transportation, and waste. The Plan includes actions that support the transition to all-electric buildings powered by renewable energy. The Plan also sets forth actions to reduce emissions from employee commutes including programs to increase the use of electric vehicles, public transit, telework, and bicycles. The County also plans to phase-out gas powered vehicles from its fleet in favor for zero-emission vehicles. Lastly, any emissions that remain after taking those actions will be captured and stored through carbon sequestration techniques including the use of compost on County landscaping.
“The County is taking a big step to manage its own emissions and invest in a carbon neutral future,” said Carolyn Bloede, director of the Office of Sustainability, “this GOCAP paves the way for the Community Climate Action Plan which we look forward to continue shaping with our communities”.
Updates on the County’s Climate Action Plans can be found at smcsustainability.org/climate-ready