San Francisco Plan Aims to Slash Greenhouse Gases
SAN FRANCISCO Three days after California regulators adopted tough rules to cut car pollution, San Francisco's mayor unveiled a plan this week to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, saying cities must take action because the Bush administration is ignoring global warming.
San Francisco's "climate action plan" seeks to slash annual carbon dioxide emissions by 2.5 million tons by 2012, a 20 percent cut below 1990 emissions.
California and local cities are moving forward with their own environmental plans because the Bush administration "is not paying attention," Mayor Gavin Newsom said.
"Global climate change is a real and looming threat to our economy, our public health and our environment," he said.
"But when the current administration in Washington refuses to cooperate with the rest of the world to reduce greenhouse gases, it is even more important that San Francisco and other cities across this country demonstrate real environmental leadership and take specific, local steps to cut emissions and protect our future," Newsom said.
Carbon dioxide and other gases have been linked to global warming, which Newsom said could increase air pollution and cause rising seas and submerge the San Francisco Bay shoreline, flooding the San Francisco and Oakland airports and major highways.
Greenhouse emissions and higher temperatures are a global problem "but we are not acting globally at the federal level. We are acting globally at the local level," he told reporters at a shoreline park outside an aging power plant the city wants to tear down.
San Francisco is among 600 local governments around the world that are developing their own climate action plans. More than 100 nations have ratified the Kyoto Protocol on emissions but the U.S. has withdrawn its support for the accord.
The city's plan targets emission reductions from burning fossil fuels in cars, power plants and commercial buildings, developing renewable energy technologies like solar, wind, fuel cells and tidal power, and expanding residential and commercial recycling programs.
California's Air Resources Board on Friday approved the nation's first-ever rules to reduce car emissions linked to global warming. The rules would require automakers to cut greenhouse gases in cars, trucks and SUVs for sale in California beginning with the 2009 model year.