S.F. Mayor London Breed Announces Ambitious Targets Ahead of Climate Summit

1 min
San Francisco Mayor London Breed. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

If Mayor London Breed has her way, San Francisco's buildings will be carbon neutral by the year 2050. She wants the city to be a global climate leader, and on Wednesday she announced an ambitious plan to get there.

Besides carbon-neutral buildings, the new plan includes halving landfill waste, financing green infrastructure and transitioning the city to 100 percent renewable electricity generation by 2030.

Breed has made the environment a priority in the early days of her administration.

"We here in San Francisco acknowledge that climate change is real, it poses a very serious threat, and we need to act yesterday," she said.

Breed's announcement comes ahead of next week's Global Climate Action Summit, hosted by Gov. Jerry Brown. The San Francisco summit will bring in leaders from around the world to talk about the work that cities and states can do to fight climate change.

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Breed believes cities need to take charge on climate change in the face of federal inaction.

"We will continue to push for strong environmental protections in this city, no matter what happens in the White House," she said.

That sentiment is shared among other San Francisco city officials.

"We know when cities and states lead on climate, nations soon follow," said Debbie Raphael, director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment. Raphael plans to be very active during the summit, sharing San Francisco's ambitious plans and learning from other cities.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced an ambitious plan to reduce carbon emissions on Wednesday.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced an ambitious plan to reduce carbon emissions on Wednesday. (Anna Kusmer/KQED)

Breed's plan has a particular focus on trash -- decreasing the city's waste generation by 15 percent and halving landfill disposal by 2030. She cited the fact that landfills produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Breed also announced she is joining the Sierra Club's Mayors for 100% Clean Energy campaign, which is a group of more than 200 U.S. mayors committing to 100 percent renewable electricity generation by 2030.

City officials said combating climate change can also improve residents' lives with cleaner air, water and streets, and less reliance on fossil fuels.

"When I hear climate skeptics, I love to say to them: I hope I'm wrong, I hope I'm an alarmist," Raphael said. "Because if I am, all we've done is make the world a better place."

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