San Francisco charts bold course of action to fight climate change

Publish date: 
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Contact's name: 
Guillermo Rodriguez

Download this press release in PDF.

New Report Outlines Several Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategies to Meet Local Goals

San Francisco, CA (2/11/14) - A new report released today by the San Francisco Department of the Environment highlights the city's success in reducing greenhouse gases and showcases the innovative public and private actions that achieved these results. The San Francisco Climate Action Strategy serves as an update to the 2004 Climate Action Plan and outlines a series of potential strategies for government, businesses and residents to meet the City's ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals while promoting green jobs for the local economy.

"Climate change affects the entire world, and the time for action is now and must be local," said San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee. "Already, residents and businesses in partnership with City agencies have made great strides to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. San Francisco has reduced emissions 14.5 percent below 1990 levels, even as the City's economy and population have continued to grow. This updated Climate Action Strategy charts the way forward, and shows that we can both reduce greenhouse gas emissions while creating jobs."

Severe weather events such as Superstorm Sandy and Typhoon Haiyan are evidence that the effects of climate change are being felt sooner and stronger than expected. San Francisco is part of the growing coalition of cities worldwide who are fighting climate change by taking action at the local level. With over half of the world's population now living in cities, local action has never been more important, with particular emphasis on communities most vulnerable to the effects of rising sea levels and extreme heat events.

San Francisco's Climate Action Strategy illustrates how the city can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 25% and 40% below 1990 levels by the year 2017 and 2025 respectively. Employing the strategies in the report in the coming years, San Francisco can meet these ambitious, but achievable targets while creating jobs and growing the economy.

To read the Executive Summary of the Climate Action Strategy in English and multiple languages click here.

THE PLAN: 0 - 50 - 100.

The plan consists of multiple recommended strategies which can be summarized in three simple goals:

  • Achieve San Francisco's 0 waste goal
  • Make 50% of all trips outside of personal vehicles
  • Source 100% of residential and 80% of commercial electricity from renewable sources, coupled with energy efficiency improvements to reduce usage.

Many of the actions identified in the Climate Action Strategy are already well underway.

Department of the Environment staff will present the strategy at the upcoming Business Council on Climate Change general membership meeting on February 20th.

"San Francisco's private employers applaud the City for its ambitious approach to creating climate solutions. Business Council on Climate Change member companies have already started to implement key recommendations outlined in the City's Climate Action Strategy," said Michael Parks, Director of the Business Council on Climate Change. "We look forward to partnering with the City to expand our local economy and bring the Climate Action Strategy to the day-to-day lives of our members and their employees who live and work in San Francisco."

Zero Waste

San Francisco currently diverts 80 percent of discards from the landfill, one of the highest diversion rates in North America.

"Strong political leadership, progressive waste reduction policies, and extensive education and outreach to residents and businesses have been critical to our success," said David Assmann, Interim Director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment. "But we have set the goal to achieve zero waste, or sending nothing to the landfill or incineration, by the year 2020 and it will take concerted action and effort to meet this goal."

50% Sustainable Trips

San Francisco is reducing transportation-related emissions by encouraging residents and visitors to take at least half of their trips outside of personal vehicles.

"San Francisco has one of the cleanest municipal fleets in the nation," said Ed Reiskin, San Francisco Director of Transportation. "More than 50% of the city's transit system is zero emission electric vehicles. With additional investments in our public transit system, our bike lane infrastructure and pedestrian safety, San Franciscans will have even more clean, viable, safe and effective transportation options."

100% Renewable Energy

San Francisco recently hit the milestone of surpassing 4,000 solar installations, helping the City move toward its goal of reaching 100 percent renewable energy.

"San Francisco's GoSolarSF incentive program is making the process of going solar easier and more affordable," said Josh Arce, President of the Environment Commission. "GoSolarSF has accelerated San Francisco's solar industry while creating thousands of jobs with local solar companies. Clean energy innovators have made San Francisco their base of operations because of policy innovations like GoSolarSF. Importantly, more than 100 of these solar jobs have benefitted San Francisco's economically disadvantaged workers."

The City intends to continue the trend of a cleaner, greener, electricity supply by expanding the options for increasing the installation of in-city renewable on municipal properties, businesses, and homes.


Residents and businesses can help make San Francisco's climate action goals a reality. The Department of the Environment, in collaboration with other City agencies and private and nonprofit partners, will convene a series of community activities to provide easy access to information and lay a roadmap for the 0 - 50 - 100 plan.

The activities will range from new program launches to workshops and engagement events that will offer opportunities for innovation and dialogue on how the San Francisco community can help meet each of the climate action goals. A few examples include the recent launch of the #SFSaveFashion textile reuse and recycling campaign, an upcoming private sector workshop on renewable energy, and a sustainable transportation session. These and other events will be posted on the Department of the Environment's event calendar and twitter account.

To download the Climate Action Strategy click here.

About the San Francisco Department of the Environment

The San Francisco Department of the Environment creates visionary policies and innovative programs to improve, enhance, and preserve San Francisco's urban and natural environment, leading the way toward a sustainable future. By developing wide-ranging environmental programs, fostering groundbreaking legislation, working collaboratively with key partners, and educating the public on comprehensive sustainability practices, the department makes it easy for everyone in San Francisco to protect their environment.