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San José Mayor Sam Liccardo and Council Colleagues Call for a Climate Emergency Declaration

Post Date:09/11/2019 3:48 PM

San José, Calif. – Today, Mayor Sam Liccardo and Councilmembers Sergio Jimenez, Raul Peralez, Magdalena Carrasco, and Dev Davis joined to call for a Climate Emergency declaration in the City of San José. In their joint memorandum, the Mayor and Councilmembers call for the City to recommit to its sustainability work, and double down on its extensive efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

“The growing affliction of wildfires, hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters sharpens our focus on our new reality: we live in a climate emergency and must accelerate our efforts to combat it,” said Mayor Liccardo. “In the absence of federal leadership, San José will continue to carry the standard for U.S. cities in reducing GHG emissions and promoting sustainability.”

In the declaration, the Mayor and Councilmembers commit to providing 100 percent carbon-free energy to San José communities in the next two years, exploring the elimination of natural gas in all-new municipal building construction, and developing only all-electric, zero-net carbon buildings. They also:

  • Pursue all-electric, zero-net-carbon new municipal facilities and prohibit natural gas in new construction projects citywide by January 1, 2023.
  • Review the City's investment portfolio to identify holdings with direct investments in fossil fuel companies, cease new investments in fossil fuel companies, and prioritize investment in opportunities to mitigate or limit the effects of burning fossil fuels—such as renewable energy, clean technology, and sustainable communities.
  • Prioritize efforts to become a zero-waste city by directing City staff to explore enhancing Climate Smart San José by including an additional zero waste element, evaluating the City's net greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the solid waste sector, assessing and evaluating the City's zero waste strategies, and further addressing critical solid waste management challenges.
  • Prioritize the equitable and active engagement of environmental justice communities by ensuring environmental policies benefit all communities in the City—especially those impacted by environmental degradation—such as communities of color, monolingual communities, children, the elderly, the physically disabled, low-wage workers, immigrants, indigenous communities, and low-income communities.
  • Urge a collaborative effort to mobilize concerned residents, youth, faith, labor, business, environmental, economic, community groups, racial and social justice organizations. This includes all elected officials in and from San José and nearby Counties—especially all mayors who have signed on to enact the Paris Agreement.
  • Explore support for a future federal tax on carbon-based fuels—such as H.R. 763 - Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act—or other carbon fee legislation, that does not preempt existing environmental policies and authority, designed to minimally disrupt the economy while
    Mayor sending a clear and predictable price signal to businesses to develop and use non-carbon-based energy resources.

"Climate change is a global emergency that needs to be addressed immediately and aggressively. San José is positioned to lead in efforts toward equitable solutions that benefit all of our communities," stated Councilmember Jimenez.

“We are proactively working on implementing projects and policies to reduce emissions in the two most significant sources of emissions: buildings and transportation. Despite the current federal administration’s efforts to roll back environmental progress, San José remains unwavering in our commitment to protect our environment and create sustainability for future generations,” said Councilmember Peralez.

“Ensuring that our City is doing everything within its power to lower emissions and provide 100 percent carbon-free energy to our community is critical to meet our City goals and take this global warming challenge head-on. While our federal government is abdicating its responsibility to humanity, local government must step up,” said Councilmember Carrasco.

“San José has a reputation for being at the forefront of environmental stewardship and our leadership is needed now more than ever,” states Councilmember Davis, “by concentrating our efforts on policies in our building codes and transportation we can make a difference and set the benchmark for other cities.”

The Mayor and Councilmembers join nearly 1,000 local governments across 18 countries in their declaration. Their commitments come after the City launched its Climate Smart San José plan in February 2018—one of the first Paris-aligned sustainability plans for the U.S. In one of the plan’s most impactful moves, San José became the largest city in the Nation to launch a Community Choice Energy program, which offers residents the ability to power their homes and businesses with 100% renewable, carbon-free power.“

Climate Smart San José is an ambitious plan to drastically reduce air pollution; we have set doable goals that are attainable if every resident takes immediate action,” said Kerrie Romanow, San José Environmental Services director. “Together, we can enjoy a healthy lifestyle and help the planet by biking, walking, conserve water and energy. When we all do our part, we can make a difference.”For more information on the climate emergency resolution, read the memorandum in full.

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Media Contact:
Chloe Meyere, Office of Mayor Liccardo; 408-535-4833 or

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