Government Operations Climate Action Plan

Government Operations Climate Action Plan (GOCAP) is a strategic roadmap to guide San Mateo County government operations in preparing for climate risks and creating impactful greenhouse gas emission reductions. It uses current trends and provides realistic and vetted actions that will get the County to its goals of 50% emission reduction by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2045.

The plan builds on the County’ s progress to date and reflect the latest science and best practices. Many actions described in the plan will not only support achievement of the County’s climate goals, but will also bring economic, environmental, health and equity benefits for County government and the community, making government operations more efficient and improving the level of service it offers to County residents and businesses.


  • Producing and burning fossil fuels releases significant amounts of greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide and methane, and when these accumulate in the atmosphere, global climatic patterns change. This disruption in global climate causes myriad effects such as drought, more extreme storms, and sea level rise, and means that the environment we have become accustomed to is changing.

    • Aerial view of plane taking off
      Energy Problem

      Fossil Fuels

      We live in a fossil-fuel reliant society. Almost everything we rely on depends on the consumption of carbon. Burning fossil fuels has caused many climate change impacts that we have already seen in the County of San Mateo.

    • couple walking on san mateo coastline
      Energy Problem

      Sea Rise

      6 inches of sea level rise by 2030 and 1-2 feet by 2050. By 2100 our region could experience 6 feet or more of sea level rise and widespread coastal erosion

    • Family gathering in local park
      Energy Problem

      Higher Temperatures

      By mid-century, where 10 days of the year or more could feel hotter than 90°F

    • Parking structure with solar panel installation
      Energy Problem


      1. Adopt policy to construct all new municipal buildings as all electric
      2. Reduce 50% of current natural gas consumption in County owned buildings through electrification by 2030 and 100% BY 2045. (this will lead to 16,954MTCO2e reduction by 2045)
    • San Mateo County vehicle
      Energy Problem


      1. EV Phase-in – Replace all expiring light-duty vehicles with EV models. (this will lead to 3892 MTCO2e emissions reduction by 2045)
      2. Provide electric car shares for County Employees
      3. Provide incentives for employee to carpool, walk, bike, and take public transit
    • Couple riding bikes down bike path
      Energy Problem


      Plant 14,723 new trees within County Parks and along County Roads to sequester 1,472 MT of CO2e by 2045

Emissions Forecast

The graph below shows the Government Operations 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 GOCAP are to achieve a 50% reduction from 2005 levels by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2045.

California has a statewide goal of greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced to 40% below the 1990 emissions level by 2030. The County’s first year of emissions tracking starts at 2005 and calls for a 50% decrease by 2030 from this level.

Chart showing path to carbon neutral 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.

  • Facilities
  • Vehicle Fleet
  • Public Lighting
  • Waste Water Treatment
  • Airports
  • Water Transport
  • Solid Waste Facilities
  • Employee Commute
  • Solid Waste
  • Measuring Facilities

    Buildings and Facilities

    • Total GHG Emissions: 47.2%
    • Electricity: 14.77%
    • Natural Gas: 27.05%
    • Generators (Diesel): .02%
    • Refrigerants:.19%
    • Cogeneration: 5.77%
  • Measuring Transportation

    Vehicle Fleet:

    • Total GHG Emissions: 11.6%
    • Fossil Fuels: 11.42%
    • Refrigerants:.19%
  • Measuring Energy

    Public Lighting:

    • Total GHG Emissions: .4%
    • Electricity: .4%
  • Measuring Wastewater

    Wastewater Treatment

    • Total GHG Emissions: .4%
    • Methane Process: .4%
  • Measuring Airports


    • Total GHG Emissions: .203%
    • Electricity: .2%
    • Natural Gas:.003%
  • Measuring Water Transport

    Water & Wastewater Transport

    • Total GHG Emissions: .1004%
    • Electricity: .1%
    • Natural Gas:.0004%
  • Measuring Solid Waste Facilities

    Solid Waste Facilities

    • Total GHG Emissions: .2%
    • Landfills: .2%
  • Measuring Employee Commute

    Employee Commute

    • Total GHG Emissions: 39.2%
    • Electricity: .2%
    • Fossil Fuels: 39%
  • Measuring Government-Generated Solid Waste

    Government-Generated Solid Waste

    • Total GHG Emissions: .7%
    • Methane Process: .7%


San Mateo County created its Climate Action Plan (CAP) in 2012 and is now building on the successes of this plan in its current plan update. The current update process, led by the Office of Sustainability, will help San Mateo County meet new state greenhouse gas reduction goals. The following projects have been completed and are related to reducing emissions:

  • LED Lighting Retrofits

    95% Streetlights

    90-95% Traffic Signals

    100% Pedestrian Signals

  • Renewable Electricity

    100% County Buildings

    Launched Peninsula Clean Energy

  • Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Projects

    East Palo Alto (223 kw): 1,095,458 kwh

    San Mateo Medical Center’s (1100kw): 2,622,738.84 kwh

  • Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Projects

    Crime Lab (234 kw): 4,512,095.42 kwh

    RWC Parking Structure (362kw): 3,863,841

  • Fuel Economy

    Compact and Mid-sized Cars: 34 MPG

    Overall Fleet: up to 21 MPG

  • EV Chargers

    13 Electric Charging Stations

    26 Total Parking Spots

  • Electric Vehicles

    EV: 2

    Hybrids: 218

    County Fleet is 31% Green

  • New Program

    SMC Commuter Shuttle Program (Retired 2018)

  • New Programs

    Emergency Ride Home Program

    Bike Fleet: 15 Bikes

  • CAP Programs Participation Rate Increase

    Employees Participation in CAP: 17%

    Telework Increase: 320%

  • Diversion Rates

    County Facilities: 57.38% / 8898.74 tons

    PW Roads: 92.69% / 13792.25 tons


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 2045 goals.


Carbon Sequestration Potential for Government Land

Part of the GOCAP calls for carbon sequestration in order to further decrease emissions in the County. One method of carbon sequestration is planting trees. The map shows the potential areas for carbon sequestration in the County land. View


It’s important that our climate action plans are responsive to your experiences and priorities. Keep informed and tell us your thoughts on climate change.

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Tell us what you think. We are currently updating the Climate Action Plan and want to hear from you! We will read these comments and incorporate as many as possible into the Climate Action Plan.

View Community Climate Action Plan

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