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Palo Alto Earns Top Award for Climate Change Leadership

Palo Alto will be recognized as the first city to achieve a Platinum Level Beacon Award – the highest level possible - for its efforts and leadership in addressing climate change when Mayor Greg Scharff accepts the prestigious recognition in front of hundreds of elected leaders from throughout California at this year's League of California Cities Annual Conference on Sept. 14.   

"Palo Alto strives to create a community where sustainability is a way of life," said Mayor Greg Scharff in accepting the award. “As a city, we have set a new bar, for ourselves and others, to continue to strive for excellence in how we operate our facilities and integrate green practices into our everyday lives.”

In 2014, Palo Alto became the second city to achieve the Beacon Award, receiving a Silver Level award in recognition of the city’s efforts in achieving measurable greenhouse gas reductions and energy savings. Since that time, the City has more than doubled projected energy savings in agency facilities and operations from energy efficiency retrofits. In recognition of these efforts, the Institute for Local Government, in partnership with the Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative, honored Palo Alto with a Platinum Level Award for the following achievements: 

  • 20 percent community greenhouse gas reductions;
  • 53 percent agency greenhouse gas reductions;
  • 22 percent energy savings in agency facilities and operations;
  • 35 percent natural gas savings; and
  • Sustainability best practices
 
“This is an honor and a proud moment for Palo Alto, as we have achieved a level of accomplishment that no city has ever reached before,” said City Manager James Keene. “To be recognized with a Platinum award is confirmation of our city’s well deserved reputation as a sustainability leader, and emblematic of our community’s efforts to reach this goal.” 

Since 2013, Palo Alto has provided 100 percent carbon neutral electricity and, as of July 1, 2017, has provided 100 percent carbon neutral natural gas — making the City of Palo Alto Utilities the first utility in the world to provide carbon neutral electricity and natural gas as a standard to all customers. 

“It is remarkable what a city can do when it is focused on issues that matter most. Palo Alto’s accomplishments are nothing short of spectacular and we can only hope that other cities throughout California can see them as the Beacon that they are,” said Martin Gonzalez, Executive Director, Institute for Local Government. 
 
For more than ten years, the Beacon Program has encouraged, supported, and recognized voluntary action by local governments throughout California to address climate change, promote energy innovation, and create more sustainable communities. For more information, click here.

Last Updated September 14, 2017