San Jose City Council to Vote on Ambitious New Climate Plan

San Jose aims to become one of the first cities in the U.S. to curb greenhouse gas emissions to the levels set in the Paris climate agreement. The City Council on Tuesday will discuss the ambitious plan, which is outlined in a 131-page document unveiled by Mayor Sam Liccardo earlier this month.

One of the major components of the plan involves San Jose Clean Energy, a city-run alternative to PG&E that allows residents to opt in to emission-free electricity. The city is poised this week to approve a $5.8 million agreement with Calpine Energy Solutions to provide data management and call center service for the clean energy service, which it expects to have up and running by this summer.

San Jose’s climate plan also directs the city to cut carbon emissions from vehicles by a million tons a year by 2030 by promoting ride-sharing, public transit and electric cars. The city also intends to slash per capita water use by about a third in the next dozen years and to produce enough solar energy to power 250,000 homes by 2040.

Other goals outlined in the climate plan align with the city’s efforts to create more jobs within San Jose. By 2030, according to the climate blueprint, the city will create an additional 22 million square feet of commercial space within a half mile of public transit. It also plans to build 40,000 new homes within its urban village areas.

San Jose officials drummed up the climate plan with help from a consulting firm and by meeting with environmental groups and residents.

Liccardo said the plan isn’t just about getting more people to buy Teslas, but improving sustainability for all sectors of the community—including those with low incomes.

Source: City of San Jose Climate Action Plan

All told, the climate blueprint will cost about $264 billion to implement through 2050, according to the city’s Environmental Services Department. Liccardo said it’s important for residents to take ownership of the plan and help the city achieve its goals.

“The success of Climate Smart San Jose will rely more heavily on our community—residents, advocates, early adopters, business leaders, NGOs, and faith-based groups—than on City Hall,” he said in a memo co-signed by council members Sergio Jimenez, Raul Perlaez, Dev Davis and Sylvia Arenas. “This is a community plan. We encourage all San Joseans to adopt Climate Smart San Jose, commit to the important work ahead, and continue to participate in the community discussion.”

A coalition of environmental groups wrote a letter to city leaders urging them to fund the sustainability plan sooner rather than later.

“Our conclusion, which we hope you share, is that it is not possible to overstate the importance of action on climate change, including getting correct these crucial next steps,” reads the letter signed by members of the Greenbelt Alliance, Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful, the Audubon Society and other organizations. “California is well into yet another low-rainfall year, preceded by disastrous floods last year, preceded by one of the worst droughts in California’s modern history. Climate change is happening now, our natural and working lands can help protect us, and we thank you in advance for enlisting San Jose’s farmland, ranchlands, and natural habitats in the fight.”

Click here to read the plan in its entirety.

More from the San Jose City Council agenda for February 27, 2018:

  • San Jose’s Mineta International Airport has launched seven new airlines and nearly tripled the number of routes in the past four years, according to a report up for discussion on Tuesday. That includes 24 new nonstop destinations, which helped spur a 15 percent uptick in passenger growth.
  • An artist named Gordon Heuther has been chosen out of a field of 86 applicants to create an End of Watch memorial to honor the 13 San Jose officers who have been killed in the line of duty. Heuther, who’s based out of Napa, has created public memorials throughout the U.S. For the project in San Jose, he envisions creating an 8-foot-by-8-foot glass monument in the shape of a seven-pointed police badge overlaid with a black metal band. Funding for the project is estimated to cost about $450,000, which the local police and fire unions have pledged to help pay for. Construction is expected to begin in September with a completion date targeted for May of 2019.
  • Watson Park, which was submerged under about eight feet of water for five days after the February 2017 flood, is due for about $3.8 million of work to fix the electrical system and turf. The city hopes to get FEMA reimbursement for at least some of the project.

WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260

Jennifer Wadsworth is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

16 Comments

  1. > San Jose City Council to Vote on Ambitious New Climate Plan

    Wonderful!

    This won’t cost anything or disrupt my lifestyle, will it?

    I’m in.

    • $264 million over the next 32 years, right around $8 million a year. And yes, the whole intent is to change your lifestyle. Start cutting your water use by 33% NOW! Sam and his friends have decided.
      And it’s nice he wants the residents to “take ownership” of the plan, now that he and his allies have layed out the goals for us.

      • > $264 million over the next 32 years, right around $8 million a year. And yes, the whole intent is to change your lifestyle.

        WHAT?!!!! This can’t be true.

        If it were true, I’m sure the Mercury News or CNN would have told me about.

        Maybe former Mercury News reporter Julia Baum could look into this. After all, it is a “local issue”.

        Did the Mercury News KNOW about the costs of the San Jose climate plan? What did they tell their readers about it? I don’t recall the Merc mentioning that the plan would change my lifestyle.

        I’m offended.

  2. Meanwhile we are becoming a huge stench pit. Bravo, city council, bravo! More liberal mindset while the city just decays….

  3. How about doing some “city” kinds of things – like fix the pot holes, pick up trash, reduce crime and homelessness — – just ordinary, every day, run of the mill civic chores that city governments are supposed to do. It is not clear if these chores are beneath Sam’s dignity or he can’t get the “simple” things done and so moves on to the more esoteric projects. things that won’t get done in our lifetime but carry the political gravitas to get him mentioned on bigger, brighter stages – –

  4. $450,000 for an 8-foot-by-8 foot piece of glass with a black and around it! SERIOUSLY?
    Only a public entity would overspend by so much. Another screwing of SJ taxpayers. Shades of the screwing we got over the notorious pile of poop known as Quetzalcoatl.

  5. Ideas’
    All those black solar cells are actually causing global warming.
    If we cover our lawns with solar cells we can funnel the rain water into cisterns so we can shower once a month.
    Homeless people will be able to live under solar cells so no one will see them.
    Windmills everywhere!
    Free electricity for a dollar a watt plus state and local taxes use and service charges.
    No wind, no sunshine, no electricity!

  6. > The city is poised this week to approve a $5.8 million agreement with Calpine Energy Solutions to provide data management and call center service for the clean energy service, which it expects to have up and running by this summer.

    If the “data management and call center service” for the clean energy service costs $5.8 million, HOW MUCH DOES THE FRICKING ENERGY COST?

    Am I the only one that noticed that they’re scheming to spend $5.8 million for nothing but “data” and a telephone number?

    I’ll sell the city “data” for $4 million. I’ll throw in the phone number for $99 bucks.

    • #1.)

      “More potholes. More pot. More homeless. More rent. More traffic.
      More crime. More racism. More rape. More sexism. More taxes.
      Otherwise, life is good.”

  7. They give the real reason for their fabricated ‘climate’ panic:

    All told, the climate blueprint will cost about $264 billion to implement through 2050, according to the city’s Environmental Services Department.

    The reason is M-O-N-E-Y, and lots of it. They’re spending OUR money on this fake scare, because their “carbon credit” scam was a non-starter. But by hook or by crook, they intend to get their meddling fingers deep into our wallets. So now we get this bogus ‘climate’ nonsense.

    And:

    San Jose officials dreamed up the climate plan with help from a consulting firm and by meeting with environmental groups and residents.

    Just imagine how that back room meeting went:

    SJ Officials: Can you produce a sufficiently scary scenario?

    Consulting Firm: You got it, Chief! We’ll use ‘Sustainable’, ‘Emission-free’, ‘Densify’, Embrace’… all them good trigger words.

    SJ Officials: What will it cost?

    Consulting Firm: Don’t worry about that, Chief! The taxpayers are paying the freight.

    SJ Officials: Then get started! This has to be up and running before there’s any organized opposition…

    And of course, meeting with environmental groups and residents was done only after careful vetting, to make certain they wouldn’t run into any Howard Jarvis folks, asking them uncomfortable and embarrassing questions.

    Since this is obviously a Done Deal, they wrap it up by saying…

    …we thank you in advance for enlisting…

    Hey! Wait a minute! We never enlisted!!

    San Jose taxpayers… BOHICA…

    http://tiny.cc/6rvhry

  8. And so the city will spend potentially $264 Billion dollars on a plan with no scientific evidence whatsoever that climate change if it actually exists, is caused predominately
    (or even partially) by human activity.

  9. Oh and more green bike lanes! Maybe we could narrow down Almaden Expressway to one lane each way and place a vibrant and inclusive bright green bike lane in its place. People will ride their bikes to work each day from Almaden Valley. Perhaps Johnny Khamis would be on board with this. He supports anything Sliccardo is behind.

  10. #2.)
    “Sustainable, vibrant, inclusive and densified with clean, personalized mobility choices and integrated accessible public transport infrastructure. Check your guns.”

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