Town of Portola Valley's Climate Action Contribution
Climate Action Commitments
Current Climate Actions Town of Portola Valley Is Taking:
Commit to Reduce Short-lived Climate Pollutant Emissions
Short-lived climate pollutants—such as black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons—are powerful climate warmers many times more potent than CO2 over their lifetimes. Because they are short-lived in the atmosphere, actions to reduce these super pollutants can have substantial, near-term climate, agricultural and health benefits and are an essential complement to CO2 reduction strategies. Policy-makers can announce regulatory or voluntary approaches to drastically reduce SLCPs, such as developing methane strategies or adopting rules on use of warming HFCs. Organizations can commit to engage with suppliers to provide training, conduct pollutant inventories, and establish systems for tracking, measuring, and monitoring these types of emissions. Analysis shows that SLCP emissions can be cost-effectively reduced by an estimated 40-50 percent by 2030.
Policymakers, companies and organizations are encouraged to accept the #SLCPChallenge of the U.S. Climate Alliance, which calls for ambitious action on SLCPs. Feel free to elaborate on your work towards reduction, along with your other efforts, in the "Other Commitments" field below.
Commit to 100% Renewable Electricity: Ready for 100
Ultimately, we must transition to communities powered by 100% clean, renewable energy. That transition should ensure benefit to low-income communities, a just transition for displaced workers in fossil fuel jobs, equitable access and affordability. If you are ready to set a 100% goal for your community, the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 campaign can help build support for your vision. Join the nearly 70 US communities with 100% goals.
Partner with other US cities/counties to advocate for national climate policies and take collective action: Climate Mayors
Climate Mayors, founded in 2014, is a bipartisan, peer-to-peer network of over 400 U.S. mayors working together to demonstrate leadership on climate through meaningful actions in their communities, and to express and build political will for effective federal and global policy action.
Purchase renewable power or build on-site renewable electricity to run local government needs
Powering your own operations with renewable electricity or using local government buildings and land to site solar PV panels is within the decision-making authority of most localities and can be a model to your community.
Replace fleet vehicles and buses that run on fossil fuels with vehicles that run on electricity
Electric fleet vehicles, especially buses, have a range of benefits that make them an excellent investment for local government use. Cities are coming together to spur innovation amongst manufacturers and use their collective purchasing power to drive down cost.
Increase energy efficiency of local government operations, such as buildings, street lighting, and water or wastewater plants
Energy efficiency is the best way to save taxpayer money and cut climate pollution right now. The average building wastes about a third of the energy it uses. Consider implementing a strategic energy management plan for all major operations.
Work with energy utilities to increase renewable energy provided to residents and businesses
Going beyond the local government’s own operations to make renewable energy available to your community is a challenging, but critical step that means working with utilities, state government, and your residents. Clean, renewable bring with them better air, predictable, increasingly lower customer pricing, and local job deployment opportunities.
Adopt policies that accelerate the transition to electric vehicles for commercial fleets and personal vehicles
Electric vehicles for personal and commercial use are, along with automation, a major trend coming to scale quickly. The proper infrastructure to support EVs will be critical to capture their benefits. Consider partnership with the largest local commercial fleet operators to pilot new ideas.
Increase rates of walking, cycling and public transit through means accessible to all residents
In many communities, the transportation sector is the largest share of their pollution and getting people to use alternative modes of transit to the personal vehicle comes with a myriad of benefits, not only cutting greenhouse gases.
Adopt policies to reduce carbon footprint of new and/or existing buildings
Building electricity, heating, and cooling at the community-scale is, with transportation, the other major source of carbon emissions. Strategies will vary between single-family homes, multi-family residential housing, and commercial buildings. Conducting energy audits and using benchmarking is an excellent tool to drive efficiency. Incentive programs for energy upgrades can be done effectively the more buildings that participate.
Promote practices that reduce the carbon footprint of food procurement and consumption and prevent food waste
Food is often overlooked as a source of greenhouse gas pollution. What it takes to produce, how far is travels to get to consumers and what’s done with food that’s not eaten all lead to major carbon pollution. Producing more food locally, running programs with restaurants and institutions to reduce food waste, and cutting back on carbon intense foods such as meat and poultry are important steps.
Give all residents in my community, especially those underrepresented or of marginalized groups, a voice in setting policy and action plans
Plans, strategies, and their implementation should include the input and priorities of the community. Having your residents’ support and involvement will lead to better long term solutions. Simply holding an open public hearing is not sufficient for the inclusion of all residents. Many methods exist for successful community engagement.
Set a goal for emissions reduction equal to or greater than the US goal under the Paris Climate Agreement (26-28% by 2025)
We all know the best way to measure, and actually achieve success, is to set a goal. Making that goal inline with or stronger than the U.S. nationally determined contribution under Paris signals that local governments are doing their part. Hundreds of cities and counties across the U.S. see an emissions reduction target of this level ambitious but doable.
Use strategies building resilience to threats of climate change in zoning, capital improvement, comprehensive planning, and hazard mitigation documents
One of the most important things local governments can do when it comes to addressing climate change is to prepare for its effects--severe storms, drought, flooding, heat waves and more. Local government is already pledged to provide for the health and safety of their residents from these hazards. Climate change will make them worse and understanding and accounting for what’s to come in existing official documents is part of that responsibility.
Areas For Collaboration
We are interested in collaborating on the following:
- Encouraging more aggressive state energy efficiency policies
- Improving efficiency in existing buildings through real estate transactions
- Supporting building thermal decarbonization and electrification
- Aggregating demand for electric vehicles with other actors
- Encouraging more aggressive state targets for electric vehicles and GHG standards
- Promoting increased charging infrastructure
- Collaborate on climate and clean energy action, and to advocate for stronger climate policy at the local level
- Aggregating demand for renewable energy with other actors
- Encouraging more aggressive state renewable energy policies
- Supporting states, cities, and utilities in decarbonizing their energy supply