Planning Department Banner, This link takes you back to home page


 The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors in December 2022 adopted an updated Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP). Please follow this link to the new plan:

2022 CAAP


The Board of Supervisors approved the Climate Action Strategy on February 26, 2013.
  • The Executive Summary provides a short description of the Strategy.
  • Section 1.0 provides the Legislative context and the purpose and need for action.
  • Section 2.0 provides the greenhouse gas emissions inventories and emissions reduction targets for both government operations and communitywide.
  • Section 3.0 provides greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategies for energy, transportation and land use, and solid waste.
  • Section 4.0 prioritizes the implementation of emissions reduction strategies to meet the 2020 and 2035 emissions reduction targets, and discusses monitoring and reporting.
  • Section 5.0 identifies the vulnerabilities to the effects of climate change that the Santa Cruz unincorporated areas are expected to face by the year 2100.
  • Section 6.0 provides a risk assessment to assist in developing and prioritizing strategies to eliminate or reduce the effects of climate change within the unincorporated areas.
  • Section 7.0 outlines the goals and strategies to assist in reducing the significant effects of climate change on the unincorporated areas of Santa Cruz by the year 2100.
  • Section 8.0 provides the references to the citations found throughout the Strategy.

There are seven technical appendices that contain the data behind the greenhouse gas emissions calculations.

  • Appendix A. List of County Policies and Actions to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Improve Resilience
  • Appendix B. List of Acronyms and Abbreviations
  • Appendix C. Regulatory Framework that Supports Climate Action in Santa Cruz County
  • Appendix D. Estimating the Potential Emissions Reduction of Individual Reduction Strategies
  • Appendix E. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Global Emissions Scenarios for Greenhouse Gases
  • Appendix F. Public Comments from June 26, 2012 Public Meeting and September 19, 2012 Focus Group Meeting on the Preliminary Draft Climate Action Strategy
  • Appendix G. Santa Cruz County Municipal and Community-wide Greenhouse Gas Inventories for the Years 2005 and 2009

What is a Climate Action Strategy (CAS)?

The CAS outlines a course of action to reduce GHG emissions produced by governmental operations and community activities within unincorporated Santa Cruz County. Implementation of the CAS will build on the fact that Santa Cruz County has already met the 2020 emissions reduction target recommended by the state and will set the County on a path toward reducing emissions to 59 percent below 2009 levels by 2050.

Goals for Climate Action in Santa Cruz County

The CAS articulates a broad strategy for reaching emission reduction goals, and then goes further to identify the individual programs, policies, and initiatives that, together, will move County operations and the community toward the goals. Strategies are included to reduce emissions in the major focus areas of transportation, energy, and solid waste. These strategies represent current thinking, and there are many more possible actions and ways in which the community may choose to respond to climate change. It is expected that this document will be updated regularly, and that the strategies section of this document will evolve as the strategies are tested and additional ideas are suggested.

The CAS identifies the parties that would carry out the various emissions reduction and adaptation strategies, with performance indicators for most strategies. The GHG inventories will be updated periodically in order to measure whether strategies are on track to produce the reductions that have been forecast. As data is collected and community partnerships are expanded, the County will work with the responsible parties and the public to add, subtract, and modify the strategies as needed to meet our emissions reduction goals.

Climate Change Adaptation in Santa Cruz County

This document also describes the particular ways in which Santa Cruz County may be vulnerable to impacts of climate change, and suggests adaptation strategies for further consideration and implementation. Adaptation to climate change will be an ongoing process as the type and severity of potential impacts become more clear. The CAS assists in the positioning of County government and the community to plan for the changes that may occur, to make current decisions with consideration and understanding of how conditions may change as climate change proceeds, and to respond to impacts when they do occur. Conditions are expected to change gradually; and therefore, there is time to form the partnerships and collect information that will contribute to a well planned, adaptive response.

Implementation of Climate Action Strategy

To assist the County to achieve the adopted emissions reduction targets of 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, an implementation plan was included in the CAS (Chapter 4). Annual reports on implementation of the CAS track and evaluate the activities that are being relied upon to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the impacts of climate change. The annual reports to the Board of Supervisors provide information on the ongoing programs and projects each department is pursuing, and new initiatives each department intends to pursue to implement the CAS each fiscal year.