On Tuesday night, August 25, the city of Sacramento took encouraging steps toward implementing actions to reach its goal of carbon zero by 2045. The council was set to ‘read and file’ the final report of the Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change – recommendations culminating from a two-year process involving businesses, community leaders, and countless local experts on how we can address climate change in our region. 350 Sacramento, alongside other amazing local organizations were able to meet with many of the councilmembers before Tuesday’s meeting to ask that the city make a commitment to acting on the recommendations laid out in the commission report. 350 Sacramento, Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates (SABA), GRID Alternatives, Sunrise Sacramento, WALK Sacramento, the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) , Sacramento SPLASH, and SacEV asked the council to act on our climate emergency, and the council responded by moving ten items forward:
- Directed the City Manager, Howard Chan, to appoint a high-level leader within 30-45 days to oversee the City’s climate effort across all departments. While recruitment for a permanent position may take longer, Mayor Steinberg asked that Chan make an interim appointment.
- Council directed staff to begin the process of adopting an ordinance requiring all new low-rise construction to be all electric by 2023. Council members said they would like the city to begin outreach in the next few months, not a year or longer.
- Council directed the City to work with PG&E and SMUD to develop the schedule and determine the resources needed to retrofit existing buildings to meet the Commission strategy of 25% of all existing buildings retrofitted to all electric by 2030.
- Council directed staff to change the building codes to ensure that new infrastructure is EV ready.
- City staff directed to find a funding source to continue offering free transit passes to Sacramento youth.
- Directed staff to lead effort in identifying a number of streets that can be closed to motor vehicle traffic.
- Directed staff to create an Economic Development Strategy for green jobs.
- Directed staff to work with the community to create an Environmental Justice Governance Board and provide $25,000 to a nonprofit to begin the work.
- Directed staff to complete the Urban Forestry Master Plan and bring it back to Council.
- Asked staff to create a work program and identify the resources needed to implement the recommendations.
Councilmember Guerra made the motion with Councilmember Schenirer seconding. Over 70 people made public comments in support of acting on the commission’s recommendations, and the council noticed! We at 350 Sacramento, especially the folks who have been watching the commission meetings for two years, making public comments, pushing for a city electrification ordinance, pushing for youth programs (and more!) are very excited by these early commitments. Our job going forward is to continue pushing, hold our council members accountable and make sure everyone in our community is heard, particularly those from disadvantaged communities. We should also take a moment to celebrate this win. Climate is on the city agenda!
by Kate Wilkins