Climate Protection, Resiliency, and Sustainability

Climate change is a present and growing threat, demanding immediate action to protect our environment and community. As an environmental leader, I've driven policies to mitigate wildfire risks, achieve 100% carbon-neutral electricity, and spearheaded initiatives for resilient infrastructure. 

Palo Alto leads in planning for sea level rise, but we now realize that wildfires are our greatest immediate threat. Hazardous, smoke-filled summer air is already the norm. Stronger climate action is essential to prevent catastrophic economic, public health, safety, and environmental impacts from mega-fires like the 2020 one that nearly swept through our foothills. I’ve pushed actions to reduce wildfire risks.

I'm passionate about building a sustainable, resilient community. I've led efforts making Palo Alto a national leader in climate protection, achieving 100% carbon-neutral electricity at half the cost of PG&E. Low-cost, renewable energy provides the backbone for electrifying transportation and buildings, with high EV adoption rates, electrified buses and trains, along with expanded and safer bike networks. Our building energy efficiency and electrification programs are making homes greener, more comfortable, and healthier by reducing exposure to unsafe methane gas.

Critical work remains to meet our goal of 80% greenhouse gas reduction and carbon neutrality by 2030. Our Reliability and Resiliency Plan focuses on modernizing our electric grid and expanding local solar and storage. We must also protect our natural environment—parks, green infrastructure, baylands, and foothill open spaces, and dedicate additional city-owned land as parkland to meet the needs of our growing population.

I need your support to complete this critical job. 

“Burt has also been one of the council's leaders on sustainability, having championed the city's adoption of a carbon-free electricity portfolio, it's increased spending on bike improvements and flood-control improvements around the San Francisquito Creek.” (Palo Alto Weekly 10/2/2020)

Advocacy and Leadership

  • Climate Action Plans: I will continue to advance our plan, collaborate with other agencies to leverage our resources, and advocate for comprehensive climate action policies.
  • Green Infrastructure: I lead strategic planning and investment in green infrastructure, supporting green building practices, energy-efficient designs, and innovative technologies.
  • S/CAP Initiatives: I was a leader in launching Palo Alto’s Sustainability and Climate Action Plan, focusing on energy efficiency, electrification, EV programs, renewable energy, wildfire protection, and sea level rise measures.
  • Carbon Neutrality: I championed setting Palo Alto’s target to meet its ambitious climate goals, including achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 and already providing 100% carbon-neutral electricity to all residents and businesses.

Renewable Energy and Resiliency

  • Clean Energy Commitment: I led efforts to adopt clean energy sources, reducing carbon emissions and ensuring sustainable, resilient energy infrastructure.
  • Infrastructure Upgrades: I will keep advocating for infrastructure upgrades to enhance the capacity, reliability and resilience of our local grid. 
  • Regional Collaboration: I’ll continue to lead collaboration with regional leaders, state officials, and community organizations to leverage our resources and advance climate resilience measures.
  • Legislation Support: I will continue to advocate for and support legislation promoting climate protection,sustainable development, and environmental protection.

Community Engagement

  • Public Initiatives: I’ll continue to engage the community and leverage community volunteers through events and programs that foster sustainability and encourage participation in climate action.
  • Awareness and Collaboration: Working with regional and state agencies, I’ll continue to raise awareness about the benefits of renewable energy and sustainable practices.

By focusing on these strategies, we can continue to make significant strides in climate action and resiliency, ensuring a sustainable future for Palo Alto.


“Pat has been a critical leader in our environmental and climate protection accomplishments, including low-cost, 100% clean energy, making Palo Alto a model for other cities.” - Peter Drekmeier, Former Mayor of Palo Alto and Acterra co-founder