350 Sacramento 2023 Climate Report Card
for the City of Sacramento
The 350 Sacramento 2023 Climate Report Card for the City of Sacramento measures city climate action against Mayors' Commission on Climate Change recommendations. The city receives an overall grade of D+ for its climate action efforts.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Letter from 350 Sacramento
In 2020, a commission convened by Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and then-West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon issued ambitious recommendations to get the cities to carbon zero by 2045. The Final Report of the Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change — which culminated from a thorough, 18-month process guided by experts — made urgent calls for expansion of electrification, greater access to green space, easier access to affordable active and public transit, and more.
Three years on, Sacramento is not moving with anywhere near the necessary urgency to tackle carbon emissions or adapt our city to a new climate reality. The 350 Sacramento Climate Report Card for the city of Sacramento, assesses how the city’s climate action — and inaction — compares to commission recommendations.
The report draws on feedback from 14 community organizations engaged in climate justice and climate action work at the city level. While not an official effort by Sacramento (or West Sacramento), the commission was meant to inform their climate goals and actions — including Sacramento’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP.) A draft CAAP is slated for release in late April 2023, years behind schedule.
City leaders have made bold statements about climate action. In 2019, Sacramento City Council committed to “maximum feasible efforts to implement emergency-speed carbon reduction actions towards eliminating emissions by 2030” in a Climate Emergency Declaration. A 2022 press release talks about “transforming” the city’s approach to transportation. Also last year, Mayor Darrell Steinberg called to make city buildings all-electric.
The image the city portrays does not reflect reality on the ground.
The council’s actions and budget do not reflect that addressing climate change is a priority, nor has the council demonstrated accountability for responding to the climate crisis. Council members have not publicly engaged staff regarding progress, delays, or resources needed to reach carbon zero, nor have they provided staff with clear direction.
The CAAP, Urban Forest Master Plan, and roadmap for electrifying existing buildings are all delayed. These are crucial guides for eliminating greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate impacts. The preliminary draft CAAP calls for several more staff in the Office of Climate Action and Sustainability and $3.2 billion in funding and financing for climate action over the next 20 years. The council has yet to address or acknowledge those needs.
The council remained silent on a 2022 ballot measure that promoted sprawl development. Measure A, which thankfully failed, as it would have locked the region into a car-dependent future and made reaching carbon zero all but impossible.
Climate change threatens our region with catastrophic extremes: Hotter weather, worse air quality, and greater likelihood of extreme precipitation. We already see inequitable impacts of extreme weather and pollution by race and class. Historically redlined neighborhoods are prone to higher flood risk. Intense storms and extreme heat waves can prove lethal for people who are unhoused. Low--income communities see worse air quality and greater heat island effects. Pollution from traffic and freeways and lack of trees and greenspace contribute to this, putting residents at higher risk for negative health outcomes.
Local action is critical for our quality of life, and meaningfully impacts emissions globally. Transportation and the built environment — top sources of emissions — are shaped by local policies. Expanding green transit and eliminating fossil-fueled appliances will reduce emissions. Aggressively planting and maintaining trees will provide cooling shade and improve air quality. These are just some changes we must make.
Sacramento has taken steps: The city requires new buildings to be all-electric, promotes infill development, and has leveraged federal funding to support local organizations combating food insecurity. These efforts deserve credit, but circumstances are dire, and “business as usual” is not enough to protect city residents from harsh impacts that we are already seeing.
This report card reflects 350 Sacramento’s best summation of input from community groups, as well as our own perspective. We hope it will help council members and city staff find a greater sense of urgency when it comes to finalizing, funding, and implementing plans for sweeping climate transformation. We hope it will help journalists and community advocates hold the city accountable for meeting climate action and adaptation needs.
The unfortunate truth is that the city must grapple with a problem of unprecedented scale and speed. The current approach leaves us woefully behind climate mitigation and adaptation goals, exposing residents and businesses to the worst impacts of climate change while failing to harness crucial opportunities to invest in programs and infrastructure. Our window to act on climate is rapidly narrowing. We have to transform our city now.
— Kate Wilkins, Lead City Climate Volunteer, 350 Sacramento
About 350 Sacramento
Founded in 2010, 350 Sacramento is a local grassroots organization committed to equitable solutions that accelerate the transition to a sustainable future, with atmospheric carbon dioxide levels below 350 parts per million (ppm). We believe in a world with a safe climate, where nature is respected and protected, and our social, political, and economic systems work for all people and the planet. Our tenacious staff and volunteers have helped pass significant climate and environmental state legislation, and we were part of the coalition that defeated 2022’s Measure A, a local measure that would have locked Sacramento into a car-dependent future.
The following high-level solutions are essential to get the city on track with climate action and adaptation. These solutions reflect recurring themes in feedback from the 14 community organizations that contributed to this report card and are consistent with commission recommendations.
Act with Urgency
Take an all-hands approach to decarbonize rapidly across departments and programs. Make maximum feasible effort to reduce carbon as much as possible in the short term. Develop and implement plans for climate action faster and with a sense of urgency. Address how plans will be funded and financed in the process. When plans or projects are delayed, the council needs to ask why, and discuss what resources staff might need to get on track.
Hire Sufficient Staff
The preliminary draft CAAP stated that the Office of Climate Action and Sustainability needs an additional six full-time staff for climate action implementation. Council must fund these positions and expedite hiring to fill them. If necessary to move faster, substitute existing vacancies within the city or temporarily use staff from other departments.
Get Serious about Funding
City council must address the challenge of funding and financing the estimated $3.2 billion funding obligation to fulfill the CAAP over the next 20 years. Schedule a council agenda item to discuss and act on specific actionable funding proposals for climate action. The final CAAP presented to the council must be accompanied by an actionable proposal for the necessary staffing and financial resources to begin implementing the CAAP with urgency.
Create a Climate Progress Dashboard
A dashboard with metrics including quantifiable milestones and timelines to measure progress towards climate goals will enable the council to hold staff accountable, and enable the community to keep the city accountable.
Make Climate Action Part of Business as Usual
All capital improvement plans and investment decisions should be viewed through the filters of climate and equity. As recommended by the Mayors’ Commission, “align each city department’s mission, operating procedures, funding priorities and planning documents with the carbon zero vision.” Can the city add a protected bike lane while doing road work? If the city builds a new stadium or funds an infill housing project, are those buildings energy-efficient and do they protect existing trees or expand green space? If the city is retrofitting a building, are they also converting it to all-electric?
Roll Out Solutions for Disadvantaged Communities First
Whether planting and maintaining trees, expanding public transit infrastructure, building bike lanes, or financing infill housing, the city must prioritize equity. That means completing projects in historically disadvantaged communities first, and prioritizing solutions that make living in Sacramento more affordable for low-income residents.
Engage Marginalized Communities Early and Often
Organizations report feeling as though the city treats equity like a box-checking exercise. The city must devote greater resources to deeper relationship-building and earlier engagement with marginalized communities as it develops and implements climate action plans. This may require more city staff.
Advocate for the City and Region
The city council, council members, and staff should advocate at state and regional levels for policies and funding that support and enable investments and implementation measures needed to achieve carbon zero. This would include, for example, advocating at the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG), the Sacramento Transportation Authority (STA), SacRT, the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District (SMAQMD), all of which have representation from the city council. City representatives should also actively engage at the state administrative and legislative levels.
350 Sacramento invited roughly two dozen community organizations to respond to a questionnaire about the city of Sacramento’s progress towards Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change recommendations. We required responding organizations to demonstrate engagement with climate justice or climate action at the city of Sacramento level, and that they be either nonprofits or non-incorporated entities. We barred businesses and government entities from participating. A total of 14 organizations responded to the questionnaire.
The responding organizations are: 350 Sacramento, Alchemist CDC, Civic Thread, Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS), House Sacramento, Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates, Sacramento Electric Vehicle Association (SacEV), SacMoves, Sierra Club, Social Justice PolitiCorps Sacramento (SJPC), Sacramento Metro Advocates for Rail and Transit (SMART), Third Act Sacramento, Trees for Sacramento, and United Latinos.
We asked organizations to only comment and provide grades where they were knowledgeable. No single section contains responses from all 14 organizations that answered the questionnaire. Most sections received responses from around 10 of the 14 organizations. View a list of organization respondents for each section along with other data in the appendix.
Section 1: Equity
The Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change called for the city of Sacramento to prioritize equity by centering the needs of marginalized communities; engaging marginalized communities in shared decision-making; and building the capacities of community-based organizations (CBOs) that have established relationships with marginalized communities.
The city of Sacramento receives a grade of D+ for its progress toward the equity goals of the MCCC. While the city has taken small steps toward equity and instituted some structure that can serve as a foundation for promoting equity, organizations said the city has not made equity a priority in its climate efforts. The city’s climate equity shortfalls fit into a larger context of equity failure that social justice organizations have criticized for years.
Learn more about how respondents graded equity.
Grade for Equity
- The city has built foundational structure to help operationalize climate equity, including:
- The city provided $25,000 in seed funding for the Environmental Justice Collaborative Governance Committee (EJCGC).
- Transportation Priorities Plan (TPP) prioritizes projects in marginalized neighborhoods.
- Although it is behind schedule, the city is working on a roadmap for electrifying existing buildings, with an emphasis on ensuring electrification resources are distributed equitably.
- City staff have leveraged grants and other limited resources to pursue worthwhile but relatively small projects including:
- Providing a limited number of free air quality sensors for residents, with a focus on “high need” areas.
- Job training and funding for part-time and full-time green jobs for youth.
- $560,000 for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento Home Preservation and Electrification Program, which aims to help up to 50 households with improvements intended to reduce likelihood of displacement. The program includes gas-to-electric retrofit for two homes.
- The city’s climate equity strategy relies excessively on one-time grants to community based organizations (CBOs) to aid with outreach and engagement around climate, rather than forming a long-term strategy with sustainable funding. These grants are valuable and must continue, but do not replace a big picture approach to ensure that marginalized communities benefit first and foremost by the investments, improvements, and new jobs generated through climate action.
- While city staff find funding for piecemeal climate equity projects, to the knowledge of 350 Sacramento, the city council has not discussed a broader strategy to promote equity in climate goals and adaptation over time; nor are we aware of substantive council discussions about how to staff and finance such efforts or meaningfully incorporate them into the annual budget.
What Organizations Say
Quotes listed by organization in alphabetical order:
“While staff are diligent about listing the community groups they have met with, these meetings have often felt like box-checking activities to those of us involved.” – Kate Wilkins, Volunteer City Climate Lead, 350 Sacramento
“Sometimes it appears equity is just a checkbox.” – SacMoves Steering Committee
Third Act Sacramento
“The city has paid lip service to equity but has not adequately provided education, shared decision making, or allocated resources for those most vulnerable to climate change due to historical and/or current disparities.” – Laurie Litman, Co-facilitator, Third Act Sacramento
“I can see the success in bringing people to the table, but what good does it do to bring them to the table if they are not allowed to eat? When we have brought recommendations to improve equity in transit or climate adaptation to the city, especially for the communities and businesses of most need, the answer is crickets. We see this as part of a larger trend in how the city deals with issues of equity. When I was on the Police Review Commission, it was the same story. They listened but did not hear the cries of the community.” – Richard Falcon, Lead Organizer, United Latinos
Section 2: Foundational Principles
The Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change called for the city of Sacramento to adhere to the following principles in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change: Urgency, advocacy, accountability, education, and financial and economic sustainability.
The city of Sacramento receives a grade of D for its adherence to these goals.
Grade for Foundational Principles
- The city established the Office of Climate Action and Sustainability, which hired two staff. (Demonstrates: Accountability)
- Staff in the office provide quarterly updates on city climate efforts. (Demonstrates: Accountability, education)
- The mayor and city council did not oppose Measure A in the 2022 Midterm Election. The measure would have promoted sprawl development, locking Sacramento into a car-dependent future. It thankfully failed to pass. (Lacking: Advocacy)
- The city is years behind schedule for finalizing its Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP). The final plan was originally slated for adoption in 2021. A new draft is now slated for release in late April 2023. In addition to the delay in developing the CAAP, other important projects have been delayed, as this report card will detail. (Lacking: Urgency, accountability)
- The city of Sacramento’s Office of Climate Action and Sustainability is understaffed. The draft CAAP released in July 2022 stated that an additional six full-time staff would be required for climate action implementation. (Lacking: Urgency, accountability)
- While the Office of Climate Action and Sustainability regularly reports to the city council, council members rarely engage staff regarding progress, delays, or resources needed — leading to a lack of accountability and transparency. (Lacking: Advocacy, accountability, education)
- While the quarterly updates are helpful, they do not include quantifiable metrics to measure progress as recommended by the MCCC final report (p. 22.) (Lacking: Accountability, education)
- Climate action and climate justice organizations struggle to find complete information about progress toward climate and environmental goals. (Lacking: Advocacy, accountability, education)
- While the city makes bold statements about urgency and progress (passing the Climate Emergency Declaration, talking about transforming transportation, calling to convert all city buildings to renewable energy), we would like to see the city take accountability for reporting its progress toward these plans and goals. (Demonstrates advocacy, but lacks accountability)
- The draft CAAP indicated that over $3 billion would be required to implement the initiatives in the CAAP, yet the council has not yet addressed options for funding and financing the CAAP. (Lacking: Urgency, financial and economic sustainability)
- When we asked the Office of Climate Action and Sustainability and Department of Public Works whether the organizations had enough staff, funding, and other resources to obtain maximum potential matching grants and other state and federal funding opportunities, staff responded that this was “not a question for staff.” (Lacking: Accountability)
What Organizations Say
Quotes listed by organization in alphabetical order:
"As the largest city in our county, the city of Sacramento could have led with strong opposition to Measure A and direction on a more just proposal. We will continue to be involved and demand the next measure has proper public input and actually addresses our regional needs." – Barbara Leary, Sierra Club Chairperson, Sacramento
Social Justice PolitiCorps (SJPC)
“We have only heard updates on climate justice projects when problems have been brought to our attention through our partner organizations.” – Andi Bianchi, Program Manager, Social Justice PolitiCorps (SJPC) Sacramento
Third Act Sacramento
“The city exhibits absolutely no urgency regarding the climate crisis, advocacy and education are minimal at best, and the current budget contains almost no money for climate action.” – Laurie Litman, Co-facilitator, Third Act Sacramento
Trees for Sacramento
“Trees for Sacramento has been troubled about the lack of full accountability and transparency in the Urban Forestry Program. Publicly available reporting on any progress toward expanding the city’s canopy, especially in neighborhoods that lack tree cover, is almost non-existent.” – Jude Lamar, member of Trees for Sacramento
Section 3: Built Environment
The Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change called for the city of Sacramento to promote infill development, mandate all-electric construction, and electrify existing buildings.
The city of Sacramento receives a grade of C for its work towards implementing the MCCC’s Built Environment recommendations, its highest grade in this report. While there’s room for improvement, the city has made important progress.
Grade for Built Environment
- The city has made important progress around infill development.
- The city has made it easier for homeowners to build accessory dwelling units (ADU) on their properties.
- The city streamlined infill development approvals through its Ministerial Approval of Infill Housing process.
- The City is circulating draft policy reforms to allow for more multi-unit dwellings in areas previously restricted to single-unit zoning, but these have not been adopted yet.
- The city passed a transit-oriented development ordinance to promote development that aligns with and may increase utilization of the light rail.
- The city has also made strides in expanding electrification.
- The city passed an electrification ordinance requiring new commercial and residential buildings three stories or less to be all-electric starting in 2023 and all new buildings to be electric starting in 2026. There are some exceptions to the ordinance.
- The city passed an ordinance requiring new commercial buildings larger than 10,000 square feet to include water recycling capabilities. By increasing the linear feet of piping required in these new buildings, the ordinance is a good step toward a just transition for pipefitters as the demand for gas lines in new construction falls.
- The city has taken steps to expand electric vehicle infrastructure. These steps include:
- The city passed an ordinance requiring new commercial and multifamily residential buildings to include electric vehicle charging stations on site.
- The city is installing EV charging stations at libraries and community centers in historically disadvantaged communities. The EV Blueprint program also includes electric bike lending from Colonial Heights Library.
- The city has received international recognition for its deployment of electric vehicle infrastructure and incentives.
- The city has committed to a “ZEV First” commitment for vehicles and equipment. The Mayors’ Commission called for 100% of public, private, and shared fleets to be electrified by 2045.
- A lot of Sacramento’s recent development has not been near active or public transit. House Sacramento used state data to estimate that roughly half of growth in centers and corridors or established communities from 2017-2021 occurred in Natomas. The city must both ramp up infill development near existing transit, and must improve transit in Natomas, as well as everywhere in the city.
- Organizations raised concerns about the affordability of recent infill development. They also raised concerns about infill development displacing residents from their current homes. The city reports it has built more low income units per-capita in the last few years than other California cities including Oakland and San Francisco.
- Progress to electrify existing buildings is delayed. A 2021 council resolution called for the council to adopt an electrification pathway plan by the end of 2022. Staff are now slated to deliver a plan to council in summer 2023.
What Organizations Say
Quotes listed by organization in alphabetical order:
“While the city has taken important steps towards increasing housing density, where the city can and should be focusing policy efforts to this effect is greater inclusion of affordable infill. The City must ensure that current residents can continue to live in their homes near these improvements and that future lower-income residents can afford spaces within newly built housing.” – David Moore, Community Planning Specialist, Civic Thread
“The City has streamlined infill development, earning it a ‘Pro-Housing Designation’ from the California Department of Housing and Community Development. The proof of the city’s commitment to their climate pledge will depend on how they vote when the General Plan Update comes before the city council for adoption. Implementing a General Plan that generously allows for more housing in all neighborhoods will help set us on track to reach our climate goals and provide the foundation for a more affordable Sacramento. Anything less jeopardizes our ability to be a sustainable and affordable city into the future.” – Kevin Dumler, Co-chair, House Sacramento
Trees for Sacramento
“When it comes to new construction, there is no city planning framework in place to encourage owners to design and locate their buildings in ways that might preserve existing trees or allow sufficient space to plant new canopy trees.” – Kate Riley, member of Trees for Sacramento
Section 4: Mobility
The Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change called for the city of Sacramento to adopt and implement a green modal hierarchy, which prioritizes the largest focus on active transportation (walking and biking) as the most efficient and healthiest option, public transit and pooled shared mobility for longer trips, and finally zero-emission vehicles for trips where transit or active transportation is not a viable option.
The city of Sacramento receives a grade of D+ for its work on mobility. While the city produced a Transportation Priorities Plan (TPP), staff have said it would take 100 years to implement the plan absent additional financing. Meanwhile, while the city has obtained grant money for at least some projects promoting walking and biking, other efforts have languished.
Grade for Mobility
- The Transportation Priorities Plan (TPP) involved a solid engagement process and the plan prioritizes equity and air quality – but there are shortcomings (see Needs Improvement).
- City staff have obtained grant money for some street improvement projects that involve better bike lanes, addition or expansion of sidewalks, and other features to encourage active transit. The city has completed the North 12th Complete Street Project.
- The City helped fund free RT transit for students. Making this program permanent and expanding it to seniors and others would be great.
- The City has supported the California Mobility Center which offers hope for new green jobs, however it’s unclear if the city will help fund this now that Measure A failed.
- As covered in the Built Environment section, the city has taken steps to expand EV infrastructure.
- It’s not clear how the city will fully fund and execute climate and equity-focused projects in the TPP. (The TPP also includes projects that will not reduce emissions or that do not address issues of equity.) Fulfilling the plan will require significant investment. According to a staff presentation, “Staff estimate the over 700 projects would cost $5 billion to implement, yet even with grants and maintenance funding, there is typically less than $42 million a year. It would take over 100 years to address our known needs.”
- In February 2022, city staff proposed seven big idea projects that would reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT). City council should follow up on the status of the projects and how they will be funded.
- SacRT ridership remains below pre-pandemic levels. The draft Climate Action and Adaptation Plan outlines several investments the city must make to help improve RT and boost ridership, including collaborating to expand service lines and building infrastructure necessary for bus service.
- The city lost the majority of its available shared electric cars when Gig Car Share left the city.
- While the Slow Streets pilot did not lead to permanent change, the city should work to create new permanent people-centric spaces such as car free zones and slow streets.
What Organizations Say
Quotes listed by organization in alphabetical order:
“Black and Brown communities are more reliant on active travel modes and transit as a means of transportation and yet the facilities for walking and biking in these communities are in the highest state of disrepair.” – David Moore, Community Planning Specialist, Civic Thread
Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates (SABA)
“Our bike/scooter share program is weak at best. While they were organized to reach lower-income neighborhoods, the footprint of the service area rarely includes these high-need neighborhoods. Gig Car share is departing from Sacramento. SacRT is in dire need of an overhaul and funding mechanisms are incredibly slow and require winning grants. Without a drastic change in approach, we will not have the capacity to meet 2030 transit targets.” – Deb Banks, Executive Director, Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates (SABA)
Sacramento Metro Advocates for Rail and Transit (SMART)
“Although we laud the work that was done on the Transportation Priorities Plan, a more thoughtful and comprehensive approach to planning for transportation and transit projects would be to establish targets and goals through the General Plan and the Climate Action Plan. The Draft Climate Action Plan, while containing many worthy goals and projects, lacks the sense of urgency the climate crisis demands. Further, without adequate funding, and adequate accountability, the promise of implementing the priorities may never get fulfilled.” – Emel Wadhwani, Co-Vice Chair, Sacramento Metro Advocates for Rail and Transit (SMART)
“The city still prioritizes motor vehicle traffic over walking, bicycling, and public transit. Shared mobility is not widespread throughout the city. The city provides no incentives for shifting mode: No e-bike subsidies, no congestion pricing, no plans to expand charges for parking. The city killed its Slow Streets program. The city also relies too much on private provision of shared mobility, such as the Gig Car program which has left the city.” – SacMoves Steering Committee
“How do you prepare the small business owners who service gas vehicles for poorer families so their businesses do not close? Let's be equitable and offer training and incentives for all. Let's work around the barriers.” – Richard Falcon, Lead Organizer, United Latinos
Section 5: Community Health and Resiliency
The Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change called for the city of Sacramento to close disparities in tree canopy and increase access to green space, improve food security, reduce food waste, identify climate vulnerabilities and create adaptation strategies.
The city of Sacramento receives a grade of D+ for Community Health and Resiliency. The city has invested in efforts to improve food security, which it should continue to build upon. Efforts to improve tree canopy face excessive delays. The city lacks detailed plans for climate preparedness.
Grade for Community Health and Resiliency
- The city now provides food waste pickup as part of regular waste pickup for some residents. Note, however, that this is mandated by the state.
- The city has taken initial steps to combat food deserts and improve access to healthy food in neighborhoods where there are gaps.
- The city has used one-time American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to provide grants to food assistance organizations.
- City council approved a loan that helped Rancho San Miguel open in the commercial building that previously housed Food Source, filling a gap in grocery access in Oak Park and enabling more residents to access groceries without needing to drive.
- Improved information sharing and engagement among food justice groups with the city through the Food Justice Task Force.
- The city faces delays to efforts that would help make our urban canopy more dense overall, and especially in marginalized neighborhoods that lack tree cover and thus face worse air quality and more intense urban heat island effects.
- The Urban Forest Master Plan was supposed to be adopted in 2019 but has yet to be released, although the council voted in August 2020 to include this in a list of 10 priority tasks (Item 21).
- Lack of staff resources has delayed tree planting, despite the availability of funding.
- It’s unclear whether the city has made progress towards the draft Climate Action and Adaptation Plan goal of “a baseline canopy of 25% by 2030, and 35% by 2045,” which aligns with goals set by the Mayors’ Commission.
- The City has not offered sufficient resources to give unhoused residents respite from extreme heat or extreme cold.
- The City lacks clear and detailed climate adaptation and preparedness plans that identify specific goals, deadlines, or funding sources.
- Sacramento faces higher food security than the national average. It remains to be seen whether the city’s initial steps to combat food deserts will lead to long-term change. Respondents to our questionnaire raised concerns about the one-time nature of ARPA funding for community food justice efforts.
What Organizations Say
Quotes listed by organization in alphabetical order:
“An October 2022 draft of the Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation section of Sacramento’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan relied heavily on aspirational language and lacked implementation details, specific deadlines, goal dates, and funding sources. There are no details on maintaining tree canopy in disadvantaged communities, nor any analysis or planning to increase and expand cooling and warming centers, two key strategies to improve community resilience.” – Kate Wilkins, Lead City Climate Volunteer, 350 Sacramento
“The City has made progress toward sustainable food systems through strategies not listed. These include, for example: Mayor's office-hosted food access calls which have led to better information sharing among community organizations; the creation of the Food Justice Taskforce to mobilize $1.5 million in funding for food justice initiatives; and support for legislation such as SB 907 that will promote local food as well as equitable food access for food insecure families receiving CalFresh. It remains to be seen whether these and other strategies will lead to long-term solutions, but the city deserves credit for getting the ball rolling.” – Samuel Greenlee, Executive Director, Alchemist CDC
Social Justice PolitiCorps (SJPC)
“The only food security programs we've been aware of have been implemented using one-time funding from ARPA, as opposed to implementing sustainable long-term programs using funding sources from the city budget.” – Andi Bianchi, Program Manager, Social Justice PolitiCorps (SJPC) Sacramento
Trees for Sacramento
“The larger the tree canopy, the more cooling shade in summertime — shade that reduces the use of air conditioning and makes it possible to continue to walk and bike on hot summer days. The larger the tree canopy, the greater the carbon capture/reduction of greenhouse gasses and the better the storm water control during flooding and intense storms. For all these reasons, we recommend 45 percent be our citywide canopy goal. The City must also consider the loss of existing canopy due to infill and other development as a climate change risk.” – Karen Jacques, member of Trees for Sacramento
Understanding Our Grades
Grades in this report reflect averages of grades submitted by responding organizations. We did not require organizations to provide grades for every section, so each individual section grade reflects input from a subset of the total 14 respondents to our questionnaire.
The overall grade for the city of Sacramento reflects an average of section grades.
The questionnaire was divided into five sections, mirroring the structure of the Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change Final Report. The sections are as follows:
- Section 1: Equity
- Section 2: Foundational Principles
- Section 3: Built Environment
- Section 4: Mobility
- Section 5: Community Health and Resiliency
Each section contained two to three questions based on MCCC recommendation language. The questionnaire asked respondents to state whether they believed the city had made meaningful progress toward achieving the stated MCCC recommendation (yes or no), and why. At the end of each section, the questionnaire asked respondents to provide an overall whole-letter grade for the section: A, B, C, D, or F. In order to accept an organization’s grade for a section, we required the organization to respond to at least one section question with a written explanation.
We allowed organizations to skip questions and to skip entire sections, and asked them to only respond to sections and questions where they were knowledgeable. In Grade and Response Data, you can view a list of organization respondents for each question and for each section grade. You can also see pie charts reflecting the proportion of “yes” or “no” responses to each question, as well as grade breakdowns. We do not share specific organization responses, so for example, you will not find information on individual section grades provided by each organization.
While Equity comprised a distinct section, we asked respondents to take issues of equity into account throughout their responses to the questionnaire. For the purpose of guidance, we referred respondents to this definition of equity from the city of Sacramento:
“The City of Sacramento’s definition of racial equity is adapted from the Government Alliance on Race and Equity’s definition. Regardless of one’s identity, equity is when all people have just treatment, access to opportunities necessary to satisfy their essential needs, advance their well-being and achieve their full potential while identifying and eliminating barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups.”
While this is not the only definition of equity, and many responding organizations likely have their own definitions, we felt it made sense to assess the city against its own definition for the sake of consistency and clarity.
Calculating Section Grades
We provided organizations the following rubric to guide their grading.
- A (4 points) = The city has excelled at fulfilling recommendations in the category in question, with little need for improvement. Even if the recommendations are not fully satisfied yet, the city has allocated funding — through budget allocations or grants — to complete the recommendations in a timely fashion.
- B (3 points) = The city has made significant progress toward fulfilling recommendations, and is in the process of taking the necessary steps to fulfill the recommendation completely. This includes allocating most or all of the funding necessary to fulfill the recommendations in the category in question.
- C (2 points) = The city has made efforts to begin fulfilling recommendations in the category in question, but has not made significant progress. The city has allocated some money to fulfilling the recommendations in the category in question.
- D (1 point) = The city has a plan to fulfill recommendations but has not started implementing the plan or started allocating money toward implementing it.
- F (0 points) = The city has made no effort to fulfill recommendations in the category in question, has no plan to do so, and has allocated no money toward implementing it.
We calculated the overall letter grade of each section by averaging the values of individual grades from responding organizations. If the average grade from respondents for a question was a decimal point, we assigned a fractional (+/-) grade based on a 4.0 scale.
So for example, here’s how we calculated the grade for the Equity section: A total of 11 organizations provided grades for the Equity section. Of those, four organizations gave the city a “D,” and seven gave the city a “C.” A “D” grade corresponds to one point, while a “C” corresponds to two points. The city received an average of 1.6 points, or a D+ based on our 4.0 scale reference.
Grade and Response Data
This slideshow contains
- An alphabetical list of organization respondents for each question and each section grade.
- Pie charts reflecting the proportion of “yes” or “no” responses to each question
- Grade breakdowns
We do not share specific organization responses. This slideshow does not contain either information on individual section grades provided by each organization, or information on how individual organizations answered each question.
350 Sacramento thanks the following community organizations for their thoughtful and thorough responses to our questionnaire: (in alphabetical order)
- Alchemist CDC
- Civic Thread
- Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS)
- House Sacramento
- Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates
- Sacramento Electric Vehicle Association (SacEV)
- Sierra Club
- Social Justice PolitiCorps Sacramento (SJPC)
- Sacramento Metro Advocates for Rail and Transit (SMART)
- Third Act Sacramento
- Trees for Sacramento
- United Latinos
This project drew inspiration from Social Justice PolitiCorps’ Social Justice Report Card. SJPC is collecting responses for the next installment of its report card until July 31, 2023.
This report was compiled by 350 Sacramento with editorial consultation from Copy By Tess LLC.