Climate Protection

Electric Vehicle charging stations

Where We Want to Be

In the future

  • South San Francisco is an environmental leader in the region by acting decisively and inspiring other communities to eliminate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adapt to climate change in a manner that is fair and equitable in consideration of diverse communities and geographies.

  • The City achieves a 40% reduction in communitywide emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2045.

  • The City continuously reduces energy and water use and minimizes the amount of waste sent to landfills.

  • The City demonstrates leadership with high-performing sustainable municipal buildings, facilities, landscaping, and parks.




Community GHG emissions


40% reduction in citywide GHG emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2045


2017 Community GHG emissions: 609,452 MTCO2e


Community water use


Potable water use (in gallons per capita per day) consistent with the urban water suppliers’ efficiency standards that will be adopted in 2022 per Senate Bill 606 and Assembly Bill 1668


2017 GPCD Water usage: 89 gallons per capita per day


Community energy use


Reduce energy use by at least 20%


2017 Electricity Usage: 489,460,969 kWh

2017 Natural Gas Usage: 29,866,596 therms


Community solid waste


Zero waste by 2045


2017 solid waste:89,136 tons


Municipal GHG emissions


Achieve carbon neutrality by 2045

How Our Plan

Gets Us There

"Aerial View of Coastline, East of 101" by <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Chiara Coetzee</a>
"Aerial View of Coastline, East of 101" by Chiara Coetzee

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 San Mateo County today. Rising temperatures and heatwaves, flooding from extreme storms, and sea level rise are some of the climate-related challenges we face. The consequences of these hazards pose risks to life, safety, and critical infrastructure in South San Francisco, and threaten the physical, social, and mental well-being of our residents. The City recognizes the risks posed by climate change and aims to protect our natural resources and community, particularly those who have been historically marginalized, from the potential impacts and strives to build a more resilient city.

The City affirms its commitment to combat climate change by establishing a carbon neutrality goal by 2045. Carbon neutrality is the state of balancing emissions of carbon dioxide with removal or by eliminating emissions from society altogether. The City will accelerate regional and local solutions to reduce GHG emissions through clean and active transportation systems, fossil-fuel free energy systems, green buildings, and zero waste solutions. The City has updated its Climate Action Plan (CAP) to reflect and enhance the General Plan.

Key Issues and Opportunities

Human emissions of carbon dioxide and other GHGs are unequivocally important drivers of global climate change. South San Francisco is experiencing the effects of a changing climate. Both gradual climate change (e.g., sea level rise) and climate hazard events (e.g., extreme heat days) expose people, infrastructure, buildings and properties, and ecosystems to a wide range of stress-inducing and hazardous situations.

The extent of climate change in the future depends in part on the amount of GHG emissions now and in the future. GHG emissions are driven by economic systems, land use patterns, transportation and energy systems, resource use, and other social, political, and economic factors.

Community Greenhouse
Gas Emissions

Community Greenhouse Gas Emissions

This community wide GHG emissions inventory for South San Francisco captures the primary sources of emissions that can be reduced through local and regional government actions. This includes energy use in homes, businesses, vehicles, and off-road equipment; emissions from treating and delivering water; and emissions from materials that are thrown away. South San Francisco uses the inventory to better understand emission sources and trends and track progress towards meeting the carbon neutrality target.
The City’s most recent community GHG inventory was conducted for calendar year 2017. Transportation (44%) followed by energy use (41%) are the two largest contributors to emissions communitywide. In 2017 communitywide emissions totaled 649,452 MTCO2e or 4.94 MTCO2e/service population.

Donut chart showing percentage breakdown of community greenhouse gas emissions in South San Francisco where On-Road Transportation accounts for 44% of community greenhouse gas emissions
Industrial building viewed from a staircase



Goal CP-1

Goal CP-1:

A carbon neutral community by 2045. 


To maintain and regularly update the City’s Climate Action Plan and Greenhouse Gas Inventory with new and emerging practices. 
Policy CP-1.1: Maintain and update the Climate Action Plan.
Maintain and regularly update the City’s Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated within the city. Ensure the City’s GHG emission target is consistent with California’s GHG reduction goals in order to be a qualified plan for California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). 
  • Action CP-1.1.1: Update greenhouse gas reduction measures.
    Regularly (every 3-5 years) refine goals, policies, and actions designed to achieve the greenhouse gas reduction goal. 
  • Action CP-1.1.2: Establish greenhouse gas emission thresholds.
    Establish greenhouse gas (GHG) emission thresholds for use in evaluating non-exempt discretionary project consistent with the California Environmental Quality Act and require projects above that threshold to substantially mitigate all feasible GHG emissions and to reduce emissions below the established thresholds. 

Policy CP-1.2: Monitor progress towards carbon neutrality goal.
Track and report progress towards achieving the City’s greenhouse gas reduction goal. 
  • Action CP-1.2.1: Update the community greenhouse gas inventory every five years.
  • Action CP-1.2.2: Prepare Municipal Greenhouse Gas inventory.
    Prepare an inventory of emissions from municipal operations, establish a greenhouse gas reduction target, and develop a work plan to reduce municipal emissions.

Policy CP-1.3: Utilize innovative technologies to reduce emissions.
Utilize new technologies as they become available to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by regularly evaluating new and emerging technology changes that can help to reduce GHG emissions, and by encouraging the use of such technology when it is demonstrated to be effective at reducing GHG emissions and a fiscally responsible investment. 
Policy CP-1.4: Explore innovative pilot programs.
Explore the potential for innovative greenhouse gas reduction pilot programs, including collaborations and partnerships, in each emissions sector (e.g., buildings and energy, transportation, solid waste, water, and carbon sequestration).
Policy CP-1.5: Seek funding to support greenhouse emission reductions.
Seek additional sources of funding to support implementation of greenhouse gas reduction projects, exploring grant funding, rebates, and other incentive opportunities 
Policy CP-1.6: Community education about greenhouse gas reduction incentives.
Educate residents and businesses about opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through grant funding, rebates, and other incentive opportunities.
Goal CP-2
Goal CP-3
Goal CP-4
Goal CP-5
Goal CP-6
Goal CP-7
Goal CP-8