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Cupertino's Climate Action Plan

Starting in late 2013, Cupertino collaborated with neighboring Santa Clara County cities to develop Climate Action Plans (CAPs) that identified regional sources of greenhouse gas emissions and establish local strategies to reduce these emissions. This was part of the County’s work with local agencies to protect residents and businesses from long-term impacts associated with climate change (learn more by visiting Silicon Valley 2.0).

Building from these regional climate action activities, Cupertino worked throughout 2014 to now customize this regional plan for our City. The City’s CAP, unanimously adopted by Cupertino’s City Council in January 2015, includes community-vetted measures to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the region and locally to foster a healthy and resilient Cupertino. Through extensive research and community input, the CAP is designed to support statewide emission reduction targets. It also identifies opportunities to reduce Cupertino’s emissions while benefitting our local environment, residents and neighborhoods.

Cupertino has been a leader in environmental planning since 2005, as one of the first cities to incorporate a Sustainability Element within its General Plan. The CAP reinforces the goals of this Element by coordinating with the City’s recent municipal projects and community-wide programs to conserve resources, while evolving the City’s approach to mitigate and adapt to climate change to ensure the wellbeing and longevity of our City.

Final Climate Action Plan

Through extensive research and community input, Cupertino’s Climate Action Plan (CAP), defines strategies to not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also provide energy, water, fuel, and cost savings for the City, its community members and businesses, further improving Cupertino’s already high quality of life. The plan also represents another example of a successful partnership between engaged community members and City staff to jointly plan for Cupertino’s sustainable future and continue to lead by example on important environmental issues.

Climate Action Plan (Adopted January 2015)
Environmental Document (EIR Addendum) 


Draft Climate Action Plan

In December, 2014, the City published the public draft Climate Action Plan (CAP). The plan defines Cupertino’s path toward creating a healthy, livable, and vibrant place for its current and future residents to live, learn, work, and play. 

Climate Action Plan
Appendix A: A Community Outreach Responses
Appendix B: GHG Inventory and Reductions Methodology
Appendix C: Implementation Tracking Framework
Appendix D: Climate Action Planning Best Practices
Appendix E: Water Conservation and Energy Efficiency Toolkit
Appendix F: Green Business Certification
Appendix G: green@school Certification
Environmental Impact Report (EIR) Addendum 



Planning Process

The completion of Cupertino’s CAP took seven months and included the following steps:

1. Visioning and Community Engagement – Spring into Summer 2014

  • Hosted two community workshops to introduce the CAP project and gathered general public comments on opportunities for GHG reductions in Cupertino
  • Supported engagement through website announcements and opportunities for online participation

2. Community Input-Based Measure Revisions – Summer into Fall 2014

  • Developed the CAP based on previous work completed as part of regional partnership and community input gathered at community workshops and online
  • Presented the CAP at formal public hearings, such as City Council meetings

3. Environmental Review – Spring into Fall 2014

  • Prepared an appropriate environmental review document to identify potential impacts associated with the plan and possible strategies to mitigate those impacts

Community Input and Meetings

City Council Meeting

The City Council held a meeting on Tuesday, January 20, 2015, starting at 6:45 p.m. in Cupertino Community Hall (next to the library) to discuss the Climate Action Plan. Cupertino’s Climate Action Plan was created to achieve State recommended greenhouse gas emissions reductions goals outlined in Assembly Bill 32: California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 and associated Environmental Review. The following are meeting materials were presented at this hearing:  

Staff Report
Draft Resolution
Planning Commission Staff Report
Environmental Review Commission Recommendation

Environmental Review Committee Meeting

The Environmental Review Committee held a meeting on Thursday, January 8, 2015, to review and discuss the draft Climate Action Plan. The following are materials from that meeting: 

Environmental Review Commission Recommendation

Planning Commission Study Session

The Planning Commission held a meeting on Tuesday, July 8, 2014 to review and discuss the draft Climate Action Plan. The following are materials from that meeting: 

Staff Report
Attachment A: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories
Attachment B: Neighboring CAPs and Targets
Attachment C: Proposed CAP Measures and Actions
Attachment D: Community Input Collected
Attachment E: Existing City Actions
Attachment F: Expanded & New City and Community Actions
Attachment G: CAP Milestones Schedule

City Council Study Session

The City Council held a meeting on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 to review and discuss the Climate Action Plan project. The following are materials from that meeting: 

Staff Report
Attachment 1: Planning Commission Packet

Climate Action Plan Community Workshop and Survey #2

The City held the second of two community workshops for the Cupertino Climate Action Plan (CAP) on June 4, 2014. At this workshop, participants reviewed the goals of the CAP, learned about community input received to date, and discussed proposed measures in greater detail. Attendees participated in facilitated small group discussions to comment on proposed high-impact emissions reduction actions and associated implementation strategies for the City, residents and businesses.

Local Climate Action Plan Measures

Climate Action Plan Community Workshop and Survey #1

The City held a community workshop on May 14, 2014, to introduce draft climate actions to the public. At this event, staff gave a presentation on the regulatory drivers, planning process and supporting City and regional environmental efforts. Participants had the opportunity to review current and proposed strategies in the energy, natural resources and transportation/land use sectors. Participants were also encouraged to provide feedback and suggestions to the City.


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This is an ongoing and evolving process, so be sure to check back periodically for any updates or events or sign up for our e-notifications at

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Climate Action Plan?

A CAP is a roadmap to guide policy and decision-making within local governments to achieve effective and cost-efficient GHG emissions reductions.  CAPs provide a framework for planning, measuring, and reducing GHG emissions. The plan establishes current and projected GHG emissions, reduction targets, measures to achieve those targets, and an implementation and monitoring procedure to make sure the CAP’s goals are realized.

Why draft a Climate Action Plan (CAP)?

Climate Action Plans (CAPs) provide a blueprint for cities and community members to respond to the sources of, and challenges posed by, climate change. CAPs outline a menu of actions a community may take to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Over 80% of cities in Santa Clara, San Mateo, and Alameda Counties have drafted or adopted Climate Action Plans. Some CAPs, like the City of Cupertino’s, have been supported through a regional approach that allows neighboring communities to share resources and technical expertise to efficiently prepare the plans.

Cupertino’s CAP will help the City support statewide climate protection efforts set forth within the California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), and will bring local environmental benefits to our city and our residents. Not only will a CAP help our City reduce GHG emissions, it will also help achieve other community and General Plan goals, such as lowering energy costs, reducing pollution in our air and waterways, improving transportation conditions, and supporting economic growth.

A community CAP can also provide California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) streamlining benefits for future development projects, saving developers and the City time and money. Streaming benefits are provided to CAPs that meet the following conditions described within the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) CEQA guidelines.

The community's CAP is anticipated to meet these guidelines and provide streamlining benefits for future projects. The CAP can act as a mitigation measure for the City’s General Plan Update to demonstrate how GHG emissions associated with the General Plan can be reduced to achieve the City’s GHG reduction targets.

What is a greenhouse gas inventory?

Greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories are often the first step towards GHG reductions. They describe the starting point, or baseline, of a community’s emissions profile. A GHG inventory takes account of the total GHGs emitted into the atmosphere by a community’s daily activities. Inventories are organized into emissions sectors according to their sources, such as energy, transportation, and solid waste. Studying these sectors can help to identify the greatest opportunities for emissions reductions; big contributors to the GHG inventory have greater potential for reduction than smaller contributors. Regular GHG inventories can track the community’s emissions trends over time, and help focus reduction strategies to achieve the city’s GHG emissions reduction targets.

What types of programs could be included in the CAP?

Extensive research in conjunction with community input will help to shape the CAP programs. However, we know that the CAP will include strategies to reduce transportation-related GHG’s through programs that make it easier for more people to use public transit and make local trips on bicycle and foot. We’ll also look at our local building standards to evaluate how we might be able to encourage greener buildings that are healthier for the people who use them as well as the environment. CAPs can also explore opportunities for water conservation in buildings and landscapes, renewable energy development to provide clean electricity, enhanced solid waste reduction in homes and businesses, and many other strategies as well.

Additional information

To learn more about Cupertino’s ongoing sustainability programs, including our Growing Greener Blocks and GreenBiz programs that help residents and businesses save energy, water, and costs at home and work, visit:

For more information about the CAP and the City's environmental and sustainability initiatives, contact Erin Cooke at