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San Mateo County reaffirms its commitment to fight climate change

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Following President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, San Mateo County has reaffirmed its commitment to the accord. (Courtesy photo)

San Mateo County is reaffirming its commitment to fight climate change by formally voicing its support of the Paris Climate Agreement following President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the accord.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously passed Tuesday a resolution to stay committed to the international accord, which aims to prevent global temperature rise, by continuing to cut gas emissions and invest in clean energy.

“Combating global climate change is the most urgent cause of our time,” said Supervisor Dave Pine in a statement. “Without the participation of our federal government, regional, state and local action is more important than ever. The county is a leader in addressing climate change, and we will continue to implement policies and programs to aggressively reduce carbon emissions.”

By 2020, the county plans to reduce carbon emissions by 15 percent below 2005 levels for government operations.

In 2013, unincorporated San Mateo County exceeded its 2020 17-percent reduction goal by 1 percent, said Hilary Papendick, Climate Change and Adaptation program manager for the county’s Office of Sustainability, in an email.

To promote energy efficiency, the county offers residents, public agencies and businesses free assessment of energy-saving opportunities and discounted upgrades of some refrigeration, heating and cooling systems, according to county officials.

Employees who commute to work by public transit, vanpool, carpool, bike or by walking can receive cash reimbursements through the county’s Commute Alternatives program.

The total budget for the Office of Sustainability that oversees climate change-related programs for this year is $28 million, Papendick said.

The county in collaboration with its 20 cities also launched Peninsula Clean Energy that provides cleaner, more renewable electricity, Papendick said.

“The County of San Mateo has taken a leadership role in taking action on climate change and in preparing for climate risks,” she added. “I do not foresee the withdrawal of the Paris Agreement affecting our ability to continue to implement these programs.”

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