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.
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