San Francisco Utilities Commission prepares
for Global Warming
By Brent Begin, Bay City News Service
August 9, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - The San Francisco Public Utilities
Commission began Tuesday what could be a long-term plan to save
the city and region from a catastrophic change in climate.
Whether it's the rising of the ocean of more than three feet,
leading to a collapse of the city's sewer system, or a dramatic
reduction in the Sierra Nevada snow pack, resulting in a crippling
drought and energy crisis, San Francisco will be ready, according
to the commission's General Manager Susan Leal.
"All the scientific data tells us that climate change is
real and it's coming,'' Leal said. "We have a responsibility
to start confronting it now, not when our reservoirs are low,
our hydropower supplies have plummeted and our seas have risen,
because then it will be too late.''
The plan was discussed Tuesday at a public hearing in San Francisco.
The commission unanimously agreed to begin the long process of
adapting the city and region's infrastructure before global warming
takes full effect.
Commission spokesman Tony Winnicker said San Francisco will team
up with other agencies locally and around the country and could
host a Coastal Cities Summit as soon as next year.
"We could adopt a wait and see approach,'' Winnicker said.
"But solutions take time.'' The commission is currently scouring
the country for experts in the field. Once more research is completed,
the commission plans to meet with representatives from Seattle,
Los Angeles, New York and other coastal cities that face similar
Winnicker said the commission seeks to make San Francisco a leader
in environmental policy. He pointed to the city's Climate Action
Plan, passed in 2004, which committed the city to reducing overall
greenhouse gas emissions to 20 percent below 1990 levels by the
"We can't do it alone,'' Winnicker said. "The first
step is to get together.''
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