The City of Burlingame’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) serves as a guiding document to identify methods that the City and community can implement to significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The CAP is an important first step toward meeting the requirements mandated by new California legislation, known as Assembly Bill 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which requires emissions to be reduced 15% below current levels (as measured in 2005) by the year 2020 and to be reduced by 80% by the year 2050.
Burlingame City Council signed the United States Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement in August 2007 and joined 670 other cities that pledged to reduce emissions within their jurisdiction. During 2007, the Green Ribbon Task Force convened and the City of Burlingame joined ICLEI (now called Local Governments for Sustainability) to share best practices with other cities.
In January 2009 the City Council directed the Green Ribbon Task Force to develop a CAP for Burlingame with assistance from CSG Consultants. The Green Ribbon Task Force began the CAP development process by considering the most cost-effective and feasible GHG reduction programs for implementation in Burlingame. Meetings were also held with Burlingame staff members to discuss the draft recommendations and receive feedback. Burlingame’s Task Force held a Burlingame CAP Community Workshop in March 2009 to receive community stakeholder feedback. Community Workshop attendees showed significant interest in the CAP development and in the expansion of sustainable efforts by the City of Burlingame and community.
Burlingame’s CAP provides a comprehensive document that creates a baseline of emissions, sets achievable targets as stipulated by AB 32, and recommends steps to be taken to reduce emissions, increase sustainability and improve quality of life.
The CAP includes the following components:
- Climate change impacts on Burlingame and recent legislation regarding climate change;
- Major sources and quantities of Burlingame’s emissions which constitute a baseline inventory;
- Burlingame’s emissions reduction target, which is based on AB 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006;
- Program and policy recommendations to assist Burlingame in meeting the GHG reduction goal in two phases: one phase for high-impact, near-term program recommendations to be implemented prior to 2012 and a second phase for program implementation from 2012 to 2020;
- State and regional initiatives that will assist Burlingame in reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
- Implementation, funding and recommended next steps;
- Recommendations for adaptation to climate change.
The CAP establishes a framework of action that the City and community can implement and provides a statement of intent for priorities and policies for the short and long term. However, the plan is not binding on the City Council or the community. Once the Council adopted the CAP, individual recommendations within the plan need to be developed by staff and/or consultants and presented for the Council’s consideration before they are implemented.