Thursday, November 01, 2007

Santa Barbara and San Jose

In one recent post, I commented as to how the City of Santa Barabara was leading the way in combating climate change. They acted to implement the standards suggested by Architecture 2030. It is an example that needs to be followed by every community in California.

This week, we have the City of San Jose taking a few tentative steps in that direction. They published a new Green Vision for the City. It takes 14 pages to discuss their goals.
Green Vision Goals

Within 15 years, the City of San José in tandem with its residents and businesses will:

  1. Create 25,000 Clean Tech jobs as the World Center of Clean Tech Innovation
  2. Reduce per capita energy use by 50 percent
  3. Receive 100 percent of our electrical power from clean renewable sources
  4. Build or retrofit 50 million square feet of green buildings
  5. Divert 100 percent of the waste from our landfill and convert waste to energy
  6. Recycle or beneficially reuse 100 percent of our wastewater (100 million gallons per day)
  7. Adopt a General Plan with measurable standards for sustainable development
  8. Ensure that 100 percent of public fleet vehicles run on alternative fuels
  9. Plant 100,000 new trees and replace 100 percent of our streetlights with smart, zeroemission lighting
  10. Create 100 miles of interconnected trails
While these are all laudable goals, the document is short on specifics.
In 2007, after the City Council signed on to the U.S. Conference of Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement, it went one step further and adopted the most aggressive municipal greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals in the nation.
We have seen that time and again governments set goals and then, when faced with a decision to permit something or to allow a possible 50 jobs to go elsewhere, they always opt to forget those requirement in favor of building up their inventory of jobs.

But it brings me back to the same point I made in my last post, that Greens need to walk away from the Step It Up meetings and go directly to their own city councils and planning commissions and demand action now. Until there is some concrete statement of requirement that goes into the building permitting process, the fancy word goals are only good intentions.

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