Sustainability at City Council June 5

June 2017

80 x 30: Strategies for a Post-Carbon Economy

MSC Solar trackers

Getting to "80 x 30"

On June 5, Council will consider the 2017-2020 Sustainability Implementation Plan, which proposes our next specific steps on the path to achieve 80 x 30. Our road to this path began in 2014 when  Palo Alto's Chief Sustainability Officer offered a vision for a sustainable Palo Alto. This vision, along with input from hundreds of residents through online polls and two public design innovation workshops, and guidance from a 20-person Sustainability Advisory Board, led to our Sustainability and Climate Action Plan (S/CAP), which lays out a path to reducing Palo Alto's Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 80 percent (below 1990 levels) by the year 2030—20 years ahead of California's 80 x 50 target.

City Council unanimously adopted the S/CAP Framework in November 2016, which will serve as the road map for achieving the 80 x 30 goal.

Is 80 x 30 feasible? We can't be sure. As the great physicist Niels Bohr once said, "Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future!" But we've already reduced GHG emissions by about 37%!

Lucy Evans Park

Spare the Air,

Cool the Climate

While Palo Alto has been making impressive progress in reducing its carbon footprint, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District has also been developing strategies for a post-carbon economy.

In April, following a three-year planning process, the Air District’s Board of Directors approved the new 2017 Bay Area Clean Air Plan: Spare the Air, Cool the Climate to achieve air quality improvements and greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions in the Bay Area.

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Palo Alto and Sustainability News of interest

Get Involved: Sustainability at City Council June 5

The City Council will review the Sustainability Implementation Plan on June 5 (originally scheduled for April 17), and decide upon approval of the "Key Actions” detailed in the plan. Staff will also summarize last year's progress in the 2017 Earth Day Report. The agenda for the meeting is posted here. We hope you'll join us. And be sure to fill out a comment card if you’d like to share your perspectives at the meeting.

City of Palo Alto’s Green Purchasing Practices

The City‘s award-winning green purchasing program now follows a “default to green” strategy—making the greener product the norm rather than the exception. The City Auditor recently completed an Audit of Green Purchasing Practices, which found mixed results: while the City received the 2016 Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool Sustainable Purchasing Award, which recognizes excellence in sustainable electronics procurement, the City does not consistently comply with applicable green purchasing requirements.

Auditor recommendations include ongoing staff engagement and education, and better systems to make it easier to comply.

A question for you: How does your purchasing support your values—and impact Palo Alto's environmental footprint? Join the Cool Block program and find out!