News Releases
The latest news and announcements from Mayor London N. Breed

Mayor Lee & Board President Breed Announce San Francisco Exceeds Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Goal

City Set to Reach Milestone in Emission Reduction Goals in 2017 & 2025; Mayor & Board President Call on SFPUC to Lead City’s Development of New Clean Energy Program

Mayor Edwin M. Lee and Board President London Breed today announced that San Francisco greenhouse gas emissions in 2012 were 23 percent below 1990 levels and the City is on track to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent and 40 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2017 and 2025, respectively.

“Once again, San Francisco is proving that fighting climate change and growing a thriving economy can go hand-in-hand,” said Mayor Lee. “While Republicans in Washington deny the reality of climate change and delay action, San Francisco is leading the way to a sustainable future with innovation and real solutions while creating jobs and increasing affordability for our residents.”

Mayor Lee and Board President Breed today also called on the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) to develop a clean energy program for San Francisco. CleanPowerSF, the City’s clean power program, will offer San Francisco a renewable energy alternative to the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E).

“Launching CleanPowerSF is the single most important thing San Francisco can do to combat climate change, and it has been one of my highest priorities as Supervisor,” said Board President London Breed. “Today’s announcement is the culmination of over a decade of work by countless advocates and leaders – I am humbled to share this success with them. This is truly an historic moment, and I thank Mayor Lee for once again showing what we can achieve when we work together as one.”

An emissions inventory, conducted by the San Francisco Department of the Environment, shows that San Francisco’s Citywide emissions for electricity, natural gas, on-road transportation, fuel and waste totaled 4.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in 2012. This compares with 6.2 million metric tons in 1990. This represents a reduction of approximately 23 percent in relation to 1990 emissions. The data and reduction were independently, third-party verified by ICF International.

This reduction is equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road, or avoiding the burning 3.3 million barrels of oil every year.

San Francisco continues to surpass international and Statewide emissions reduction targets established as part of the Kyoto Protocol calling for emission reductions of 7 percent by 2012, and California’s landmark climate law AB 32 calling for statewide emissions to return to 1990 levels by 2020.

In 2010, San Francisco’s emissions were at 14.5 percent below 1990 levels; since 2010, an additional 544,781 metric tons of carbon emissions were reduced exceeding the 20 percent reduction goal for 2012. A few examples that contributed to the carbon reductions since the last data analysis in 2010 included:
•    Vehicle fuels: while driving increased by single percent, significant improvements in fuel efficiency and increased use of hybrids and electric vehicles contributed to an overall emissions reduction.

•    Commercial electricity: a combination of PG&E’s cleaner energy portfolio plus significant improvements in the energy mix for Direct Access customers in San Francisco, a 43 percent improvement in emissions factor alone, contributed to San Francisco’s overall emissions reduction.

•    Recycling and composting: through continued residential and commercial diversion of recyclable and organic material from the landfill, San Francisco has dropped 4 percent in from 2010 to 2012, to support overall emissions reduction.

“In 2010, shutting down two dirty power plants accounted for the major source for reductions; this time around it was a mix of the City’s innovative policies like its Zero Waste goal by 2020 and the Green Building ordinance combined by success in the region to shift to cleaner fuels and investments in public transportation that helped San Francisco surpass its reduction target of 20 percent,” said Department of the Environment Director Deborah Raphael. “Now we set our sights on meeting our 2017 and 2025 reduction goals of 25 percent and 40 percent below 1990 respectively and with Mayor Lee’s leadership and working with residents and business partners we can achieve these targets.”

“San Francisco has one of the cleanest transit fleets in the nation,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin. “More than 50 percent of the City’s transit system is zero emission electric vehicles now running on the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s 100 percent renewable electric power. With additional investments in our public transit system, our bike lane infrastructure and pedestrian safety, San Franciscans will have even more clean, viable, safe and effective transportation options to help further reduce our carbon footprint.”

“San Francisco’s private employers applaud the City for its success in reducing carbon,” said Business Council on Climate Change Director Michael Parks. “We look forward to continuing to partner with the City to expand our local economy while continuing to reduce emissions.”

In the SFPUC’s clean energy program for San Francisco, CleanPowerSF, customers will be able to choose a cleaner energy product through CleanPowerSF, while PG&E will continue to bill customers, operate the grid, and distribute electricity to customers. The SFPUC Commissioners rejected an earlier version of CleanPowerSF.

“If San Francisco is going to do a clean energy program, let’s do a real one,” said Mayor Lee. “San Francisco’s clean energy program should not contract with an oil company with a dubious record of protecting the environment and human rights: we can do better. I call on the SFPUC to develop a program that is affordable for customers, greener for our planet, takes advantage of renewable technology being developed right here in our City and has a real plan for creating jobs for our residents. I look forward to working with Board President Breed, Supervisor Avalos, other members of the Board and the SFPUC to develop a program that will benefit all San Franciscans.”

Mayor Lee in his State of the City address outlined Environmental Equity as a part of his Shared Prosperity Agenda. For San Francisco to reach new levels of environmental achievement, solutions to climate change and environmental sustainability must be accessible and benefit all San Franciscans. All of San Francisco’s diverse communities and neighborhoods should share in the benefits of building a cleaner and greener City, regardless of income.

A recent report on CleanPowerSF commissioned by the San Francisco Local Area Formation Commission supported the Mayor’s position when it concluded that a contract with Shell Energy North America is unnecessary. The report also identified potential renewable energy projects and estimates for job creation. While short of a detailed plan to build local renewable energy projects and create jobs in San Francisco, the Mayor was pleased to see some progress on a key aspect of the program that was missing in the previous iteration of CleanPowerSF. The Mayor considered the report a good starting point.

Mayor Lee is requesting the SFPUC develop a competitively and affordably priced, greener power option with a concrete plan for developing renewable energy and jobs in San Francisco. The Mayor’s goals for CleanPowerSF are a part of his call for environmental equity and climate solutions that benefit all San Franciscans, which he outlined in his Share Prosperity Agenda. He also expects the new program to protect low-income and monolingual residents from unknowingly ending up with higher power bills and to explore a sustainable source of funding for GoSolarSF, a model clean energy program that is creating good paying jobs for disadvantaged workers while also making solar renewable energy accessible to residents and businesses. The Mayor pointed to programs in Marin and Sonoma that have provided customers with a green power option with more renewable energy content at a cheaper price than PG&E’s power, while also offering a second, 100 percent renewable energy product at a premium price, but voluntary for customers to participate.

Mayor Lee is requesting the SFPUC, working with the Department of Environment and Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) as well as the business community, technology leaders, the solar industry, and utility industry leaders, to develop a successful and reliable renewable energy business model and to approve the new program by the end of the year.