Mayor Mark Farrell Announces Historic Commitment to Net-Zero Emissions by 2050
At the City’s annual Earth Day Breakfast today, Mayor Mark Farrell committed San Francisco to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, a move that will eliminate the City’s carbon footprint.
Mayor Farrell also announced that funding will be included in his upcoming budget for the City to commit to planting 2,000 new trees in the next two years. Trees absorb excess carbon dioxide—a major cause of climate change—and store the carbon while releasing oxygen back into the air. Mayor Farrell’s goal of planting 1,000 new trees annually will help the City get closer to reaching its emissions free future.
“With the Trump Administration displaying a stunning lack of guidance on climate change, it is up to cities such as San Francisco to take the leadership mantle of this critical issue,” said Mayor Farrell. “We cannot wait for Washington, D.C. to act—we owe it to our future generations to take bold climate action. We are accelerating our plan for an emissions free future now, before it is too late.”
San Francisco has long been a pioneer of innovative and responsible environmental policies and programs. The City has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 29 percent below 1990 levels—the equivalent of nearly more than 400,000 cars off the road—while San Francisco’s population increased by 20 percent and its economy grew by 111 percent. San Francisco has enforced new green building standards for all municipal construction projects, invested in renewable energy systems, pursed rigorous energy efficiency standards at City-owned properties and has moved closer to achieving zero waste sent to landfill.
San Francisco joins 25 other cities from around the globe who have made the commitment to accelerate emission reduction plans. The pledge aligns with the Paris Climate Accord and builds on San Francisco’s track record of successfully reducing emissions while simultaneously growing its economy. More details of the plan to achieve net-zero emissions will be released at the Global Action Climate Summit, an international summit being hosted in San Francisco in September.
The Paris Climate Accord seeks to limit global temperature increases to 1.5° Celsius above pre-industrial levels. According to research by C40 Cities, a network of the world’s largest cities committed to addressing climate change, climate action within urban areas can deliver almost 40 percent of the savings needed to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Accord.
“We’ve made tremendous progress over the past decade in reducing our emissions but cities all around the world need to fundamentally transform how they operate in order to achieve net-zero emissions” said Debbie Raphael, Director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment. “When cities lead, states and nations follow. Synchronizing bold climate action around the globe is how we heal the planet and leave future generations a thriving, healthier global ecosystem.”
The new climate commitment offers San Francisco another opportunity to demonstrate that bold climate goals drive economic growth. To make the switch to an emission-free future, the City will explore new technologies to transform markets and leverage San Francisco’s longstanding history of entrepreneurial innovation. And the City will continue to build new renewable energy facilities, which create jobs, diversifies the energy sector, and trains new workforces.
"San Francisco have once again shown how cities can boldly reduce their emissions while maintaining a growing and thriving economy,” said Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris and Chair of C40 Cities. “The commitment to reaching carbon neutrality, approved by Mayor Farrell today, puts San Francisco at the very forefront of global climate action. With just five months before leaders of cities, states and global businesses reveal new innovative commitments in San Francisco during the Global Climate Action Summit, mayors of more than 40 megacities have now publicly committed to implement the highest goals of the Paris Agreement at the local level. Cities are more than ever paving the way towards a healthier and more sustainable future.”
Other cities committing to the C40 emissions-zero pledge include: Austin, Accra, Barcelona, Boston, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Caracas, Copenhagen, Durban, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Mexico City, Milan, New York City, Oslo, Paris, Philadelphia, Portland, Quito, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Santiago, Stockholm, Vancouver, and many more.