Atherton Climate Action Plan

The 2023 update to the Town of Atherton's Climate Action Plan (CAP) outlines priority strategies to achieve a 49% emissions reduction by 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality in the Atherton community and government operations by 2045. By reaching this goal, the Town of Atherton will demonstrate leadership in climate action, create a more sustainable and resilient community for all residents, mitigate the harmful impacts of climate change that the Town is already experiencing. 

Why Climate Action Planning Pillars?

Climate action planning pillars are needed to achieve the GHG reductions laid out in climate action planning measures and actions. When all the pillars are taken together, they provide the necessary conditions needed to achieve the GHG reductions described in the measure. Though many actions associated with the measures are supportive and do not provide quantitative evidence, they are still critical in achieving the success of quantified GHG reductions by measure. Ideally, each measure should be supported by actions that reflect all pillars.

Structural Change describes actions that change the policy landscape of how a sector functions, and impact the underlying activity data that drives emissions in that sector (ex. adopting a 'replace on burnout' ordinance, that would replace natural gas powered appliances with all-electric alternatives when the appliance fails)

Feasibility describes actions that impact the underlying conditions of a policy, for example, data needed to assess cost effectiveness or to monitor and track progress of an action. (ex. conducting a study of a City's off-road fleet, and identifying best options for decarbonization)

Equity describes actions that reduce the burden on disinvested or marginalized communities, for example actions that reduce or eliminate the costs of decarbonization upgrades for low-income families.

Education describes the actions that increase community understanding and buy-in of the policies and behavior changes that will be necessary to catalyze decarbonization (ex. educating residents on decarbonization programs)

Decarbonization will require investment. Funding describes actions that drive investment in the decarbonization transformation to systems, infrastructure, and behaviors that will be needed to mitigate climate change.

Partnership describes actions that leverage key stakeholders like community based organizations, or sustainability service providers to ensure the feasibility of actions through collaboration (ex. establishing partnerships to track food waste data with major institutional generators of food waste, like schools or hospitals.

Countywide Collaboration: Climate change does not have jurisdictional boundaries. As such, we have the opportunity to work with San Mateo County on climate actions that require a multi-jurisdictional approach. These multi-jurisdictional goals for San Mateo County collaboratively discussed and decided upon by municipal staff representing each of the 20 cities during the Regionally Integrated Climate Action Planning Suite (RICAPS) meeting in 2022-2023.

2023 Climate Action Plan

The Atherton Climate Action Plan was updated in June 2023. The plan is a roadmap of the priority strategies to meet 49% emissions reduction by 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality in both the Atherton Community and Government Operations by 2045. Carbon neutrality means reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 100% from the 2005 baseline. 

The following icons are used to indicate the status of each action.

Awaiting Resources
In Progress

Leaders in Climate Action

The timeline below gives a brief overview of the ways in which the Town of Atherton is leading the way with Climate Action. Additionally, the Town has won numerous awards for its new Civic Center Campus including:

  1. 2023 All-Electric Leader, Outstanding Commercial Project from Peninsula Clean Energy 
  2. 2023 Excellence in Architectural Design Award from American Institute of Architects and the American Library Association
  3. Green Building Honorable Mention from Sustainable San Mateo County 

“Winning these awards is a great recognition of our Town’s past efforts to fight climate change and become a more sustainable town,” said Council member Bill Widmer. “We hope these awards inspire cities in the region and beyond to join us in creating a more sustainable future