San Francisco, CA

City announces new climate action goals the day another billionaire makes it to suborbital space

Amancay Tapia

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Coincidence or not, the City announced yesterday new climate action goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions the day main media in the U.S. and abroad was interested in Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' very short journey to suborbital space, which emitted a host of greenhouse gases along the way.

Considering there is currently what looks like an ongoing billionaire’s race to make it to space for the purpose of future space tourism not science or the benefit of humanity, many in San Francisco may wonder if City efforts to fight climate change will pay off taking into account we have rockets going into space that need a huge amount of propellants to get out of the Earth’s atmosphere. It is the burning of these propellants that emit a host of greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, air pollutants, water, chlorine, and other chemicals.

So based on the fact that San Francisco has made excellent progress on its climate action goals to-date, the City has decided to introduce new legislation to increase San Francisco’s ambition and set new science-based targets that are aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change.

For the first time, San Francisco is setting initial targets for consumption-based greenhouse gas emissions, which are emissions that occur throughout the supply chain of goods consumed in San Francisco.

One of the City new targets in the Environment Code is to reduce by 2030, “sector-based greenhouse gas emissions by 61% below 1990 levels, and by 2040, reach net-zero sector-based emissions and sequester any residual emissions using nature-based solutions”.

Mayor London Breed said via statement,

San Francisco has long been a national and international leader on climate action and environmental policies, with programs like CleanPowerSF and requiring new construction to be all-electric. Now we must build on these successes and push even further, because our future depends on it. These new, bold targets put us on track to reduce our emissions more quickly—with the urgency that climate change demands and with social and racial equity at the forefront of our work.

The updated Environment Code includes climate action goals in six main areas: energy, transportation, housing, buildings, zero waste and roots.

As per City updates, the Environment Code specifies the following climate action goals in six key areas:

  • Zero Waste: By 2030, a reduction in the generation of solid waste of at least 15% below 2015 levels and a reduction in the amount of solid waste disposed of by incineration or deposit in landfill of at least 50% below 2015 levels;
  • Transportation: By 2030, an increase in low-carbon trips to at least 80% of all trips measured and an increase in the level of electrification of vehicles to at least 25% of all private vehicles registered, and by 2040, an increase in the level of electrification of vehicles to 100% of all private vehicles registered;
  • Energy: By 2025, supplying 100% renewable electricity, and by 2040, supplying 100% renewable energy;
  • Housing: Building at least 5,000 new housing units per year with maximum affordability, including not less than 30% affordable units, and with an emphasis on retaining and rehabilitating existing housing;
  • Buildings: By 2021, requiring zero onsite fossil fuel emissions from all new buildings, and by 2035, requiring zero onsite fossil fuel emissions from all large existing commercial buildings; and
  • Roots: Confiscating carbon through ecosystem restoration, including increased urban tree canopy, green infrastructure, and compost application.

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