City of Sacramento accelerates work to limit carbon emissions and address climate change

The City of Sacramento is ramping up its efforts to address climate change with the appointment of Jennifer Venema as the interim lead of a newly created position designed to coordinate and accelerate response to global warming.

Venema, who previously served as the City’s sustainability manager, will present an update on the City’s ongoing work to limit carbon emissions as well as future steps at the Nov. 10  City Council meeting.

“In short, the City is accelerating its work for climate action,” Venema said. “What is most exciting to me about this new position is the ability to build on all the great work the City has underway and bring it together to drive community-level change on climate goals.”

The City Council on Aug. 25 received a presentation on the Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change, which represents Sacramento and West Sacramento. The commission has made a series of recommendations to achieve “carbon neutrality” by 2045, meaning any emissions produced by the City would be offset by the amount it removed from the atmosphere through actions such as sequestering greenhouse gases before they are released.

After the presentation, City Manager Howard Chan was directed to identify and select a staff member to guide the City’s work around this critical issue. Council also identified several steps to help the City lay critical groundwork for addressing climate change and attaining carbon neutrality. Many of these steps already are underway, along with other efforts such as the City’s Climate Action Plan update.

Key updates that will be discussed at the Nov. 10 City Council meeting include:

  • The launch of the Environmental Justice Collaborative Governance Committee recommended by the commission, which will build upon the City’s Environmental Justice Element for the 2040 General Plan.
  • An electrification ordinance currently under development, which would establish phased requirements for new construction to be all electric with higher levels of electric vehicle capability. The framework for this ordinance will next be considered by the Planning and Design Commission on Nov. 12.
  • A “Slow Streets” process to work with community organizations and neighborhoods to expand bicycle and pedestrian access by fully or partially closing streets to vehicles with temporary traffic control devices such as cones and a-frame barricades.

“We are currently developing a work plan to help City staff operationalize these efforts,” Venema said.

In early December, staff will present that plan to City Council along with an audit of the City’s green efforts conducted over the past 18 months by the City Auditor.

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