Thank you for visiting the virtual public forum for the City of Palo Alto's 2020 Sustainability and Climate Action Plan (S/CAP).


The City is developing a 2020 S/CAP to help meet its sustainability goals, including a goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. We are providing online events such as this forum in response to social distancing requirements and appreciate your flexibility and continued enthusiasm for participation in this project.


The S/CAP will be organized into issue areas, including the following seven proposed areas: Energy, Mobility, Electric Vehicles, Water, Climate Adaptation and Sea Level Rise, Natural Environment, and Zero Waste. For each area, City staff in coordination with the community drafted Goals and Key Actions, and received public input on those draft items through an online webinar event in April. In this second online event, we are requesting your input to help select action co-benefits that can be used in the action evaluation and prioritization process.


For more information on the 2020 S/CAP Update Process visit: or email


We hope you are staying healthy and weathering through these uncertain times. Thanks for your input!


– City of Palo Alto S/CAP Team



What Are Co-Benefits?

The primary goal of our S/CAP is to reduce GHG emissions toward the City’s 2030 target. However, co-benefits can describe other desirable outcomes from our actions beyond GHG reductions. For example, actions designed to address climate change can also improve local air quality, reduce the cost of living, or increase productivity. Co-benefits should be selected that align with community priorities and apply to multiple S/CAP Issue Areas (e.g., Energy, Electric Vehicles, Zero Waste). Assessing co-benefits is important to reflect a fuller range of beneficial outcomes that an action provides to help make decisions on how we should prioritize among a long list of potential actions. Co-benefit evaluation can also help identify opportunities to refine the draft actions to increase their co-benefit impact.


The co-benefits we select will be used later in this project to qualitatively evaluate our draft S/CAP actions to understand which provide the most benefits that we as a community value. The results will then be one consideration as we prioritize our near-term actions to achieve our ambitious GHG target.

We are seeking your input on the Draft Co-Benefits to be reflected in the 2020 S/CAP!


We proposed the following draft co-benefits as a starting point for this discussion. You can review the Forum page for additional information and to view public comments on the message boards. Public commenting on the draft co-benefits is now closed.

Cost of Living: Reduce cost of living through utility cost savings, travel cost savings, etc.

Public Health: Improve public health through reduced incidents of diseases/death attributed to pollution, increased use of active transportation options (e.g., walking, biking), etc.

Air Quality: Improve air quality through reduced exposure (indoor and outdoor) to particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), nitrous oxide (NO2), ozone (O3), sulfur dioxide (SO2) or airborne toxins.

Public Safety: Improve public safety through reduced traffic, reduced incidents of traffic accidents, reduced gas leaks, decreased exposure to climate hazards, assets adapted to withstand climate hazards, decreased number of people/assets/services exposed to climate hazards, etc.

Productivity: Increase productivity through reduced commute times and reduced traffic, prioritized housing near transit, improved thermal comfort in buildings, reduced economic activity losses from climate-related events (e.g., flooding, power outages), etc.

Regional Benefit: Provide benefits that extend beyond the city, such as generating jobs, expanding the electric vehicle charging network, implementing flood reduction projects, etc.

Resource Conservation: Increase resource conservation in building energy, vehicle fuels, and water; increase natural habitat conservation and regeneration; and decrease waste generation

Equity: Address an existing inequity in the community, such as disproportionate poor air quality, access to transit, flood risk, etc.