Palo Alto Earth Day Report Shows Progress, Significant Challenges Ahead
Palo Alto, CA – The City of Palo Alto has already surpassed the initial climate protection goal set by the City Council in 2007 (20 percent reduction from 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions by 2012), and is now looking to set new goals as part of its updated Sustainability and Climate Action Plan. As highlighted in the City's latest Earth Day report that will be discussed at the Council’s April 20 meeting, Palo Alto has cut its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by an estimated 32 percent from 2005 levels and 37 percent from 1990 levels.
California has set the goal of reducing GHG by 20 percent from 1990 levels by 2020, and set an aspirational goal to reduce emissions by 80 percent by 2050. The Palo Alto report highlights that specific measures to accelerate reductions of GHG emissions from the use of natural gas and a significant reduction in solo car driving will be needed to further reduce carbon emissions, and meet the state’s 80 by 50 goal. The report also explores even more aggressive timelines. In addition, California’s worsening drought will require substantial reductions in water consumption and adaptation to other potential impacts of climate change.
"Palo Alto is a global leader in sustainability, and our city is visited regularly by delegations around the world that come here to learn about our innovative approaches, progressive policies and ambitious goals," said City Manager James Keene. “As we update our sustainability and climate action plan and Council sets new goals, the challenges of ongoing drought, the quickening pace of climate change and the reality that we will need to make major changes in transportation will test us as never before, if we hope to establish a sustainable future.”