County of San Mateo, Partners Earn Climate Leadership Award
The County of San Mateo, the City/County Association of Governments (C/CAG) and 20 partner jurisdictions received a prestigious 2017 Climate Leadership Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their countywide collaboration on coordinated efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions by 40 percent.
The San Mateo County Regionally Integrated Climate Action Planning Suite (RICAPS) Initiative was one of 15 recipients honored by the EPA and nonprofits The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and The Climate Registry. Awardees demonstrated leadership in setting and achieving goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“We congratulate RICAPS as a 2017 Climate Leadership Award winner,” said Bob Perciasepe, president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. “Leadership and partnership are critical to achieving a sustainable future, and San Mateo County and C/CAG are helping lead the way. We hope the County and its partners’ accomplishments will spur others to follow their example.”
RICAPS, a winner in the Innovative Partnership category, aims to reduce emissions 15 percent by 2020 and 40 percent by 2030 from a 2005 baseline. In addition to the County, RICAPS members include C/CAG and all 20 incorporated cities and towns. All member jurisdictions are drafting or have adopted climate action plans using tools and templates developed by technical consultant DNV GL which greatly reduces the cost of climate planning for local jurisdictions.
The program inventories emissions and provides support and advice on energy efficiency projects, small business outreach, building codes, EV charging, sustainable purchasing, water conservation and more. The two main components are San Mateo County Energy Watch, which supports retrofit projects for schools, small businesses and lower-income residents, and the RICAPS Initiative which supports climate action planning through templates, documents and performance tracking. As a result, countywide energy use has been reduced by 26.5 million kWH since 2009.
“We certainly don’t do this work in search of accolades but there’s no doubt how good it feels knowing that our collaborative effort in working with all 21 local jurisdictions in San Mateo County are being recognized beyond our borders. As a collaboration of local government agencies, we continually strive for innovative approaches to meet our collective climate and sustainability goals. We know our goals just don’t stop at any set of physical boundaries and success relies on our ability to work together. This Climate Leadership Award is a positive sign that we’re headed in the right direction and we’re proud to accept it on the behalf of all involved,” said Sandy Wong, executive director of the City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County and Jim Eggemeyer, director of the County’s Office of Sustainability, in a joint statement.
Kim Springer, interim deputy director of the County’s Office of Sustainability, Redwood City Councilwoman Alicia Aguirre and DNV GL Consultant Betty Seto accepted the award on behalf of RICAPS Thursday night at the 2017 Climate Leadership Conference in Chicago.
The awarding agencies also lauded RICAPS for its collaborative approach to combatting climate change.
“The Climate Registry applauds RICAPS for their outstanding dedication to reducing carbon pollution,” said David Rosenheim, executive director of The Climate Registry. “To make a significant impact on reducing the effects of climate change, we need to support and inspire each other to act. Your leadership in partnering to reduce carbon pollution is a beacon for climate action in North America and beyond.”
Other recipients of the 2017 Climate Leadership Awards include 10 companies, one other partnership and three individuals representing an array of industries such as finance, aviation, retail and technology.