There is a need for dramatic action worldwide. That’s how scientists from around the globe this month described unprecedented global warming levels in the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Work already is underway at the City of Sacramento to take action to address climate change, and the City is committed to doing its part to combat the problem, said interim Climate Action Lead Jennifer Venema.
“While this international report can feel overwhelming to read about, we want people to know that Sacramento has been busy laying the groundwork for accelerated climate action,” Venema said.
The City’s Office of Climate Action & Sustainability, led by Venema, was established to advance the City’s climate efforts. Part of its work is to achieve local goals identified and inspired by Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change.
Convened Mayor Darrell Steinberg and former of West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon in 2018, the Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change provided a roadmap and recommendations to achieve “carbon zero” by 2045. (Carbon zero or carbon neutrality is when net greenhouse gas emission levels are equal to zero, or when any GHG emissions put into the atmosphere equal those taken out of the atmosphere.)
Since then, the City of Sacramento has taken several actions toward this vision:
- City Council has committed to attaining carbon neutrality by 2045 as a foundation for the 2040 General Plan update.
- City Council declared a climate emergency in December 2019, re-affirming the City’s commitment to take action and evaluate resources towards eliminating greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2045.
- City Council adopted an ordinance to require the electrification of new buildings effective 2023, to reduce fossil fuel in the built environment.
- City Council adopted a framework to start to plan for the electrification of existing buildings.
- A $4.4 million allocation from City Council in the Fiscal Year 2020/2021 midyear budget is advancing the 2021 Climate Implementation Work Plan and long-term climate tasks including several priority projects, such as the Slow & Active Streets Pilot and the Sacramento Environmental Justice Collaborative Governance Committee.
- An update to the City’s Climate Action & Adaptation Plan is in process. This rigorous plan will provide the City’s strategy to achieve GHG reduction targets, with targets and strategies to achieve them. A public workshop is tentatively planned for City Council in October 2021, preceding a public release of the draft plan in November 2021.
“A key take-away from the IPCC report is the importance of all action, now more so than ever, even at the local level,” Venema said. “Cities are uniquely positioned to act quickly and demonstrate transformative solutions. The work we undertake as California’s capital city is highly visible and critical to help shift broader change across the state and beyond.”
About the IPCC’s report: