Report: San Francisco not meeting greenhouse
gas emissions goal
"The climate change problem
is predicted to cause such great catastrophes"
By Ananda Shorey
July 10, 2007
San Francisco won't meet its target of reducing greenhouse gas
emissions by 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2012 unless it significantly
accelerates it efforts, according to a report the County of San
Francisco Civil Grand Jury has released.
"We are not on track,'' said Shirley Hansen, a Civil Grand
Jury member. "In order to meet this goal, we will have to
triple our efforts now for the next five years."
The Civil Grand Jury's report outlines what San Francisco has
and hasn't accomplished and provides recommendations about what
needs to be done to reduce emissions.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution in
2002 setting a goal for the city and county of San Francisco to
reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions. In 2004, the Department
of the Environment and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
published a Climate Action Plan.
Although some progress is being made due to the Department of
Environment's efforts, the target won't be met unless San Francisco
works faster, according to the report.
"The climate change problem is predicted to cause such great
catastrophes if we don't address it,'' Hansen said.
One reason the city hasn't accomplished its goals is because
the San Francisco Municipal Railway is under-funded, Hansen said.
Muni's diesel buses produce a lot of the city's carbon emissions.
With the money that is available, the agency is working on replacing
the oldest diesels with alternative fuel buses and is moving toward
fleet-wide use of electric vehicles, according to the report.
The federal government isn't providing adequate assistance for
such efforts, Hansen said.
"The federal government is out to lunch on this issue.''
Muni fares could be increased to provide money for needed changes,
but officials are concerned that would encourage residents to
drive their cars, Hansen said.
The Civil Grand Jury recommended implementing congestion pricing
in its report, which would require drivers to pay a fee to enter
It also recommended that drivers be encouraged to buy hybrids.
The Taxi Commission recently mandated that all of its vehicles
in San Francisco are hybrids by 2012, Hansen said.
Addressing climate change is important because of the threats
it presents to the city, according to San Francisco Mayor Gavin
Climate changes could lead to rising sea levels, which could
threaten low-lying areas such as Mission Bay, AT&T and Candlestick
parks, San Francisco International Airport and Treasure Island,
Newsom has said.
The Civil Grand Jury submitted the report to a number of agencies,
including the Municipal Transportation Agency Board, the Department
of Parking and Traffic and the Department of Environment, which
have 60 days from today to respond.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors then will receive the
report and will have 90 days to respond.
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