EnvironmentNewsSan Francisco

Mandelman urges SF to declare ‘climate emergency’


San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman introduced a resolution at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting to declare a climate emergency in The City and for city departments to take rapid steps in fighting against climate change.

Mandelman, joined by the Department of Environment Director Debbie Raphael and environmental advocates, said at a City Hall press conference on Tuesday:

“San Francisco like the rest of California is already suffering impacts of climate change in the form of droughts, air pollution, extreme heat, and low-land flooding. On our current path, projections show up to eight feet of sea level rise in the Bay over the next 100 years.”

Tuesday’s storm prompted The City to close southbound traffic on the Great Highway.

Mandelman added:

“The emergency is upon us and we need to recognize that and act with urgency based on that recognition every single day.”

The resolution calls for the Department of Environment and The Mayor’s Office to create and deliver a report within 100 days on what steps The City is taking in response to climate change, and requests a hearing at the Board of Supervisors to discuss actions The City can immediately take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Additionally, the resolution calls for supervisors and Mayor London Breed to develop a budget to combat climate change and avoids the use of future funds in infrastructure that relies on fossil fuels.

Since 1990, The City has redacted its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent at the same the economy grew by 111 percent and the population grew by 20 percent, said Debbie Raphael, director of the Department of Environment, but said The City needs to push further:

“We need to completely get rid of our reliance with fossil fuels. That’s no more diesel. No more gasoline. No more natural gas.”

Many environmental groups back the proposed resolution, including Mothers Out Front, Greenaction and Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

Kristen Tam, a former city youth commissioner and now a fellow with Youth vs. Apocalypse, said she worries about how climate change has already affected The City and how it will affect the future:

Tam said she strides to lead by example by bringing her own reusable cups, utensils and bags everywhere she goes, and said the resolution also leads by example as well:

“We’re inspiring other nations and cities to step up and call this out as a climate emergency.”

The resolution is co-sponsored by Supervisors Sandra Lee Fewer, Matt Haney, Gordon Mar and Vallie Brown.

Cities such as Richmond, Berkeley and Oakland have already declared a climate emergency.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay and covers transportation and City Hall. He has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Jerold is a San Francisco native and frequently takes public transit everywhere he goes. Follow Jerold on Twitter @jerold_chinn. Email tips to jerold@sfbay.ca.

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