Office of Sustainability: Climate Change / Adaptation (4020P)

Program Outcome Statement

The Climate Change and Adaptation Program works to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and ensure that the County is actively preparing for climate change impacts, including increased flooding and erosion, increased intensity of storm events and variability of precipitation (wetter wet years and drier dry years), extreme heat, and wildfire


The Climate Change and Adaptation Program aims to mitigate the effects of climate change. This involves setting emissions reduction goals based on state requirements, tracking emissions reductions, and working closely with the other Office of Sustainability workgroups, County departments, businesses, nonprofits, and community groups to develop and implement Climate Action Plans. Example measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions include reducing energy use, increasing use of alternative transportation measures, such as walking and biking, and reducing waste. Additionally, through adaptation planning, the Program strives to increase the resiliency of valuable assets, protect vulnerable populations, and conserve natural resources.

Percent of Progress Toward Countywide GHG Emissions Goal

Percent of Sea Change SMC Listserv Emails Opened

Percent Increase in Green Business Certified in San Mateo County Compared to Average Percent Increase in Certifications Across the Nine Bay Area Counties

FY 2018-19 Mid-Year Story Behind Performance

Percent of Progress Toward Countywide GHG Emissions Goal
The Office of Sustainability is responsible for reducing the County's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its own operations as well as from the unincorporated community. The California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32) mandated that all governments reduce their GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. In 2016, the State passed new greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements, which include a reduction of 40 percent below the 1990 level by 2030. Through its Government Operations Climate Action Plan (GOCAP), which aims to reduce emissions from the County's operations and facilities and the Energy Efficiency Climate Action Plan (EECAP), which aims to reduce emissions in the unincorporated county areas, San Mateo County is committed to mitigating the progression of anthropogenic climate change. The Climate Change and Adaptation Program is currently working to update both Climate Action Plans to meet the new emission reduction requirements. 
In 2015, the County of San Mateo has reduced emissions by 21.8 percent below 2005 levels. The reduction from 2014 to 2015 is due primarily to a reduction in commercial natural gas usage. As of the mid-year update, there is no new data to report.
Percent of Sea Change SMC Listserve Emails Opened
The Sea Change SMC Program communicates with San Mateo County city staff, elected officials, state and federal agencies, businesses, asset owners, nonprofits and community members through regular emails sent through a MailChimp listserv. The emails are the Program’s way of keeping key stakeholders engaged and informed on our efforts and are critical to continuing to work collaboratively across different agencies and organizations. The Mid-Year update for the open rate shows a small increase in the percentage of emails opened. This could be related to new efforts the County is conducting around other climate change impacts, such as wildfire, heat, and precipitation. The County launched a Climate Change Collaborative at the end of January and the emails surrounding this event had a high open rate. We estimate a 33% open rate for FY 2018-2019.
Percent of Progress Toward Countywide GHG Emissions Goal
The San Mateo County Green Business Program certifies and promotes small to medium-sized businesses that operate in an environmentally-responsible manner. By offering technical assistance and resources, the County helps local businesses save money by teaching them how to conserve energy and water, minimize waste, prevent pollution, and shrink their carbon footprints. The Program is part of a statewide network known as the California Green Business Network. This performance metric shows the County’s progress in growing the Green Business Program in comparison to other programs in the Bay Area. Data for this metric is still forthcoming.

Future Priorities

  • Complete updates to the Government and Community Climate Action Plans
  • Expand the Sustainability Academy to the work furlough program participants at the Maple Street Jail
  • Using funding from an SB 1 Caltrans grant, make measurable progress toward understanding risks from other climate change impacts, such as extreme heat, precipitation, and wildfire, with a focus on impacts to transportation networks and disadvantaged communities 
  • Develop planning tools and resources for reducing impacts from sea level rise and other climate change impacts for cities, businesses, and others in San Mateo County
  • Continue to expand the Green Business Program, especially in disadvantaged communities

Author: Hilary Papendick, Resource Conservation Program Manager Contact Email: Last Updated: 02/08/2019