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Climate Protection and Defense

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Our Approach


To avoid catastrophic impacts, experts recommend reducing global greenhouse gas emissions to half of current levels by 2030, and limiting global temperature rise to below 1.5° Celsius. In 2017, the County reaffirmed its commitment to combat climate change in alignment with the Paris Climate Agreement and continues to take aggressive action to attain that goal. At the same time, we need prepare for the effects of climate change to protect people, wildlife, natural habitat, and our built environment. The County aims to:

  • Implement holistic, systems-based approaches to reduce greenhouse gases through clean and active transportation systems, smart growth, fossil-fuel free energy systems, decarbonized buildings, and zero waste solutions;

  • Protect heritage resources and sequester carbon in its agricultural lands, forests, wetlands, and other unique landscapes;

  • Build resilience to the threats of climate change and natural disasters through collaboration and coordinated regional resilience efforts; and

  • Regularly assess changing climate risks and develop solutions to modernize infrastructure, promote decentralization and diversity of services, improve disaster preparedness and recovery, and increase the capacity of all people—particularly historically marginalized communities and workers—to withstand hazards and adapt to climate change.


The County has already made great strides in reducing climate pollution, preparing for the impacts of climate change, and by reducing greenhouse gas emissions through 

  • Helping launch Silicon Valley Clean Energy;  

  • Purchasing 100% of the County’s electrical power from clean renewable sources;  

  • Committing to be Diesel Free by ’33;  

  • Adopting commitments to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045;  

  • Completing a countywide climate change vulnerability assessment and development of the Silicon Valley 2.0 Climate Change Preparedness Decision Support Tool;  

  • Maintaining a Green Building Policy for County Government Buildings; and 

  • Maintaining a Green Building Ordinance for private development. 

Current Efforts


Climate change is an urgent concern confronting our world today. The burning of fossil fuels for transportation and energy, the primary driver of climate change, is already affecting Santa Clara County. Rising temperatures, heatwaves, wildfires, flooding from extreme storms, and sea level rise are some of the climate-related challenges we face (Click here to learn about future County climate risks). The consequences of these hazards pose risks to life, safety, and critical infrastructure in Santa Clara County, and threaten the physical, social, and mental well-being of our residents.  

The Issue

Reduces greenhouse gases and builds resilience to the

threats of climate change and natural disasters.

Goal #1. Carbon Neutrality

Become a carbon neutral County that supports a transition to zero waste and zero emissions.

Goal #2. Resilient and Prepared County

Increase preparedness and resilience to respond to the shocks

or stresses that impact Santa Clara County and the services it provides.

A preview of the current numbers... 

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