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The County of San Mateo has added a translation feature developed by Google Translate to assist web visitors in understanding information on this website in a variety of foreign languages. Please be aware that Google Translate, a free third party service which the County does not control, provides automated computer translations that may not give you an exact translation. The County cannot guarantee the accuracy of translations through Google Translate so translations should not be considered exact and only used as a rough guide. Anyone relying on information obtained from Google Translate does so at his or her own risk. The County disclaims and will not accept any liability for damages or losses of any kind caused by the use of the Google Translate feature.


  • Producing and burning gasoline and natural gas releases greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere, causing global climate disruptions. This disruption causes myriad effects such as drought, more extreme storms, and sea level rise.

    • Aerial view of San Mateo County
      Energy Problem


      We live in a fossil-fuel reliant society. Almost everything we rely on depends on the consumption of carbon.

    • People walking on the San Mateo Coastline
      Emissions Problem


      Carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions in historically unprecedented amounts are problematic because they cause climatic disruptions locally and around the globe.

    • Filthy Parking lot
      Culture Problem


      Decades of decision making about development, transportation, and food systems have led us into a deep dependency on fossil fuels. Our twentieth-century consumption patterns, reinforced by a system of cultural preferences, have also led to the rapid consumption of coal, oil, and natural gas that sustain global production lines.

  • Some of the most impactful ways of reducing our emissions to meet State goals remain the most challenging: reducing vehicle miles traveled (think single-occupancy vehicle trips) and transitioning away from methane gas or “natural gas” in our homes and commercial buildings. The slides below highlight a few promising routes and the Plans go into greater depth on these and other strategies.

    • Grass hillside overlooking San Mateo County
      Energy Problem


      1. Facilitate fuel switching from natural gas to electric in buildings to reduce emissions
      2. Improve electricity distribution systems to prepare for heightened electricity demand in the future
      3. Increase microgrids to decrease emissions and adapt to a changing climate
    • Man charging electric vehicle
      Energy Problem


      1. Increase electric vehicle adoption
      2. Implement programs for shared transit that reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips
    • Farm rows sprouting
      Energy Problem


      1. Support the agricultural community to engage in practices that will sequester carbon from the atmosphere
      2. Support and grow local food systems
    • Construction crew demolishing building with tractor
      Energy Problem


      1. Reduce construction materials and waste to reduce sourcing and hauling emissions
      2. Reduce organics in the waste stream (Residential, Commercial, and Agricultural)
      3. Reduce inorganics waste sent to landfills
    • Waterfront Skyline
      Energy Problem

      Workforce Development

      1. Provide local workforce development opportunities related to building electrification
      2. Support industry representatives to provide trainings for new electric technologies and provide educational resources for inspectors and permit/plan checkers
      3. Create workforce opportunities for community members most affected by climate change
    • Small apartment building
      Energy Problem

      Energy Efficiency

      1. Support low-income households to improve energy affordability through energy efficiency, electrification, and weatherization
      2. Upgrade select low-income homes that would otherwise be disqualified from housing assistance programs
    • Parking Structure with solar panel installation
      Energy Problem


      1. Establish microgrid pilot projects and distributed energy resources at critical facilities across San Mateo County (e.g., schools, hospitals, fire, police), prioritizing opportunities to serve low-income communities. Use utility distribution system capacity maps to prioritize solar and storage and other DER project opportunities, while focusing on communities of concern
      2. Use utility distribution system capacity maps to prioritize solar and storage opportunities, while focusing on communities most affected by climate change
    • Bay area bikeshare terminal
      Energy Problem


      1. Support and work with partners to implement region-wide transit policies and programs
      2. Develop model policies for micro-mobility (bike and scooter share) that facilitate equitable access to mobility services and region-wide transit (first mile last mile)
      3. Facilitate transportation equity through targeted provision of programs that encourage minority, low-income, and senior populations to take transit, walk, bike, and use rideshare or car share

Emissions Forecast

The graph below shows the emissions if nothing is done (blue line), emissions taking into account 100% renewable electricity through Peninsula Clean Energy (green line), the historic emissions and path forward to achieve a net-zero emissions (dark blue line), and the emissions reduction trend accounting for the proposed actions (orange line). The goals in the CCAP are to achieve a 45% reduction below 1990 levels by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2040. Carbon neutrality is defined by the point at which the removal of carbon pollution from the atmosphere meets or exceeds emissions (AB 1284). (i.e. San Mateo County is removing more carbon from the air than we are emitting.)

California has a statewide goal of greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced to 40% below the 1990 emissions level by 2030.

graphed path to carbon neutral by 2040 for San Mateo County

What Gets Measured

All measurable emissions from county operations are calculated, for example, by analyzing the amount of electricity, natural gas, or fuel used, or vehicle miles traveled on roads. San Mateo County is responsible for reducing the following 2016 inventory of emissions.
  • 100 percent


    Total GHG Emissions: 1,217

    Off-Road Equipment: 1,217

    metric tons of CO2e
  • 100 percent


    Total GHG Emissions: 77,491

    Off-Road Equipment: 77,491

    metric tons of CO2e
  • bar graph


    Total GHG Emissions: 148,396

    Residential Energy: 59,469

    Commercial/Industry Energy: 87,037

    Direct Access: 1,840

    Stationary Sources: 50

    metric tons of CO2e
  • transportation GHG emissions bar graph


    Total GHG Emissions: 186,747

    Vehicle: 159,835

    Off-Road Equipment: 26,293

    Rail: 619

    metric tons of CO2e
  • solid waste total GHG emissions bar graph

    Solid Waste

    Total GHG Emissions: 124,179

    Solid Waste Disposal: 7,117

    Solid Waste Landfills: 117,061

    metric tons of CO2e
  • solid waste total GHG emissions bar graph


    Total GHG Emissions: 1,604

    Wastewater Treatment: 1,604

    metric tons of CO2e
  • water total GHG emissions bar graph


    Total GHG Emissions: 308

    Water Use: 308

    metric tons of CO2e

Achievements & Goals


San Mateo County has set a precedence in prioritizing climate related issues in recent years and has made significant strides in upholding its commitment. This Plan is building on work already done and underway and it will chart our course for meeting 2030 and 2040 goals.

  • ACHIEVEMENT: First Climate Action Plan created
    Plan used to meet new state greenhouse gas reduction goals.

  • ACHIEVEMENT: Goal reached
    The goal for unincorporated County to reduce emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 was reached early in 2013 when the County achieved an emissions reduction of 18 percent below 2005 levels.

  • ACHIEVEMENT: The County Office of Sustainability established Peninsula Clean Energy
    Peninsula Clean Energy is the County’s Community Choice Aggregator, a mechanism for procuring higher rates of clean energy on behalf of community members than PG&E. PCE began serving customers in 2016 and reinvests its earning in the community. It is a major partner now to the County in its climate action planning process.

  • GOAL: Reduce Emissions by 45% Below 1990 levels

  • GOAL: Reach carbon neutrality
    Carbon Neutrality: The point at which the removal of carbon pollution from the atmosphere meets or exceeds emissions (AB 1284). (i.e. San Mateo County is removing more carbon from the air than we are emitting.)

Get Involved

It’s important that our climate action plans are responsive to your experiences and priorities. We invite you to join our mailing list to receive updates from the Office of Sustainability. Topics include planning and preparing for climate change.