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Climate Restoration

In the Summer of 2019, Supervisor Dave Cortese led the effort for the approval of Santa Clara County’s Climate Restoration Emergency Resolution, which is the first of its kind in the nation, that called for the immediate mobilization of resources and labor at a massive scale and at every level – local, state, national, international, social, industrial, and economic – to halt, reverse, mitigate, and prepare for the consequences of our climate emergency and to restore the climate for future generations.

The Climate Restoration Emergency Resolution builds on climate action underway including developing a first-of-its-kind Agricultural Resilience Incentive grant program that will galvanize the participation of agricultural communities in climate restoration. This innovative program is the result of the County’s multi-award-winning Santa Clara Valley Agricultural Plan, a comprehensive strategic plan to invest in working lands for regional resilience in the face of the climate crisis. Supervisor Cortese served as co-chair with Supervisor Mike Wasserman on the County’s Agricultural Preservation Task Force, which met for seven months in 2018 to develop recommendations for the Board of Supervisors to implement the Ag Plan. In 2019, Supervisor Cortese also spearheaded efforts to establish Building “Reach Codes” for all-electric buildings and electric vehicle infrastructure to make a clean transition to carbon-free energy during the new construction process.

Climate Restoration, a critical third pillar of climate action alongside mitigation and adaptation, is gaining traction in the global climate conversation. For this work, Supervisor Cortese has recently been invited to call on other local governments across the globe to follow Santa Clara County’s lead at the first annual Climate Restoration Forum at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City and the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. To watch a video of the speech he delivered leading into the 74th Session of the U.N. General Assembly , click here.

County Climate Coalition

​​In June 2017, acting on a request by ​​In June 2017, acting on a request by ​​In June 2017, acting on a request by then Board President Dave Cortese, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution affirming the County's commitment to the United Nations Paris Climate Accord and in conjunction established the County Climate Coalition, calling on all counties in the U.S. to rally around combatting climate change.

"We want to let the world know that Santa Clara County and Silicon Valley have a long-term commitment to sustaining our environment and ask other counties to join us," Cortese said.

Climate Leadership

Santa Clara County is a leader in addressing climate change at the local level with a commitment to moving to 100% renewable electric power for it's county operations by 2019 years end, which would reduce GHG emissions annually by an estimated 8,100 metric tons of equivalent carbon dioxide (MTCO2e).

The County has recently joined forces with Al Gore's The Climate Reality Project to further engage counties and raise the bar for local governments.
Visit the County's Climate Coalition web site

Kid's Climate Club

Mission Statement:  To energize and mobilize the next generation of leaders in the area of environmental stewardship by educating students in grades 3 through 12 on the vital importance of minimizing society's impact on the environment, by enabling them to make environmentally friendly changes in their own lives and by encouraging them to be advocates for environmental stewardship.

Membership:  Open to youth in grades 3 through 12 who have an interest in environmental stewardship and pledge to do the following:

  • Conserve resources such as electricity, water and fuel;
  • Reduce waste by being a smarter consumer;
  • Reuse resources;
  • Recycle products to eliminate the waste going to landfills;
  • Encourage their parents and family to follow these environmentally friendly practices;
  • Educate their friends and peers on the importance of being environmentally friendly.

Members will receive regular updates discussing ways to become more environmentally conscious, tips on how to conserve resources, updates on current environmental news and details about volunteer opportunities to help save Planet Earth.

Tools for Teachers

A library of lessons, activities and other resources for the teaching of environmental and ecological studies in grades 3 through 12—created by respected experts from throughout the world—compiled and offered by the Cortese Kid's Climate Club.  Click here to view the packet.

Kid's Climate Club
Supervisor Cortese gave a presentation at a recent
Silicon Valley Kid's Climate Club meeting.

Sites Supervisor Cortese Has Visited:

• Ben Painter Elementary School
• Cherrywood Elementary School
• East Valley YMCA
• Pueblo de Dios
• Laneview Elementary School
• Vovinam
• Chaboya Middle School
• Evergreen Elementary School
• St. John Vianney
• Zanker Elementary School>Randall Elementary School
• Merryhill Elementary School
• Chung Tai Zen Center of Sunnyvale
• Curtner Elementary School
• Boy Scouts Pack 179
• Ocala Middle School
• Guadalupe River Park Conservancy
• Asian Americans for Community Involvement Afterschool Program

For more information, to join the Kid's Climate Club, or to schedule a time for Supervisor Cortese to talk with your class or youth group, please call Tara at (408) 299-5036 or email her at

Click below to read a recent article published by the Berryessa Sun and Milpitas Post:

More Environmental Initiatives

  • Helped form Silicon Valley Clean Energy, our community choice energy provider of 100% carbon-free and renewable energy, which includes 14 of 15 cities in the county and unincorporated County.
  • As a VTA Board Member, Supervisor Cortese secured the purchase of Zero Emission Buses to reduce the Authority’s impact on the environment
  • As a member of the Association of Bay Area Governments, Supervisor Cortese was a strong proponent of the Bay Trail which will create a continuous network of trails around the entire San Francisco Bay
  • Endorsed “Diesel Free by '33” at the regional level which is yet another methodology to phase out reliance on fossil fuel
  • In partnership with the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, developed integrated regional shoreline mapping and analysis tools to support consistent sea level rise assessment and adaptation throughout the region
  • Initiated update to parks acquisition master plan to guide the county’s next 30 years of land purchases in order to expand our county parks system
  • Sponsored an educational showcase designed for consumers to sample EV options by bringing the models together in one location
  • Co-drafted with Supervisor Ken Yeager the County’s first environmental stewardship goals which included policies for zero waste, employee ridesharing, Electric Vehicle purchasing and infrastructure, anti-idle, green cleaning, and sustainable landscaping
  • Expanded electric vehicle charging stations throughout the region through early adoption by the County and other Bay Area Agencies
  • Built four solar farms and invested in storage with Bloom Energy to allow us to store solar-produced energy
  • Spearheaded the Alviso boat launch and other improvements to Alviso Marina County Park, which had been devoid of public access to the Bay via Alviso for decades
  • Created a widely available tour of the Alviso Slough and its environs with ongoing funds to operate the Salt Marsh Safari, giving school children and other community members firsthand exposure to the Bay, its wildlife and its connection to our local communities while teaching them the impacts of climate change
  • Partnered with the Santa Clara Valley Water District to create and implement a campaign to encourage water conservation by residents during California’s drought. I called on all County Departments and residents to set a goal to reduce water use by 25% at the outset of the 5-year drought
  • As a member of the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority, helped place Measure AA on the ballot in 2016, which passed with a 70% majority vote -- the first regional parcel tax measure in California’s history to help restore, enhance and protect our wetlands
  • Completed a joint study with the Santa Clara Valley Water District on South Bay Shoreline (2016) to evaluate opportunities and risks of our shoreline and levies
  • Created policy to strengthen the county’s tree preservation ordinance and called for a countywide tree inventory and tree management plan, which aims to preserve and expand the county’s urban forest
  • Oversaw the creation of the county’s award-winning Agricultural Plan and co-chaired the Ag Preservation Task Force to curb the conversion of nearly 28,391 acres of viable farmland and rangeland to development and preserve 12,000 acres of agricultural land

Last updated: 5/18/2020 8:29 PM