“The City of San José values inclusive and sustainable growth. We have taken steps over the past few years to ensure all residents, businesses, and organizations can participate in and benefit from the prosperity and culture of innovation in Silicon Valley. From creating a sustainable, smart city that is powered by clean energy and electric vehicles, to going all-in for transit oriented development, progress on our goals will require partnerships like the Champion Mayors initiative, that can provide us with other cities around the world that are also working to create a more inclusive city”
– Mayor Sam Liccardo
Since Mayor Sam Liccardo took office in 2015, San José has thrived. In his very first year, Sam settled intense battles over pension reform with 11 unions, saving taxpayers $3 billion over the next three decades and enabling the restoration of San José’s police force. He has led the most successful period of economic growth in the City’s history, announcing major expansions from employers like Adobe, Apple, Broadcom, and Google. Sam has also implemented innovative approaches to reduce homelessness—such as converting motels, expanding work-first programs, and building “tiny home” villages—while working with community partners to house more than 1,000 homeless veterans.
Sam has helped broaden prosperity in San José by launching after-school programs in less affluent neighbourhoods, providing jobs for 2,000 at-risk teens, teaming with community colleges to eliminate tuition for low income students, and lifting the minimum wage across the region. Sam has also co-led successful measures to bring BART and other transit improvements to San Jose, and protect our hillsides and open spaces from sprawling development. In 2018, San Jose residents overwhelmingly re-elected Sam, with 76% of the vote.
In February 2018, San José was one of the first US cities to adopt a Paris Agreement-aligned climate action plan: Climate Smart San José. The Plan puts forth bold climate actions to drastically increase the community’s energy efficiency and investment in renewable energy and dramatically reduce car emissions, all while promoting culturally vibrant neighbourhoods. Early implementation of the Plan will include the launch of San José Clean Energy, the largest single city Community Choice Aggregator in the country. It will provide carbon-free electricity to the 10th largest city in the U.S. by 2021; the development of transformative transit projects – including the expansion of the region’s primary rail system, BART, into San José’s downtown; and the procurement of electric buses in our transit agency and at the San José Mineta International Airport. The Plan brings together city departments, related agencies, the private sector, and, ultimately, our residents, and community groups to significantly change how cities work – pivoting from one that is City-centric into one that is people-focused.
The city and community have come together to not only support the principles of the Paris Agreement, but to develop a plan that charts the best pathways for keeping global temperature rise this century below 2°C. At the same time, San José is a growing city and is expecting 400,000 more people by 2040. Climate Smart San José provides a framework for urban and economic growth while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Climate Smart San José leverages San José’s strengths and is framed around four core principles:
Inclusive: Seeking to improve quality of life throughout San José by making the Plan accessible to all residents, regardless of income or background;
People-centered: Connecting the Plan with the concept of the “Good Life” to link climate smart choices to quality of life benefits for residents in order to help deliver the aspirations and desires of our residents, excite residents to engage on climate issues, and drive the adoption of carbon-reducing technologies and beaviors from niche users to the mainstream;
Data-driven: Grounding the Plan in quantitative evidence to best address the major drivers of GHG emissions and set the community on a clear pathway aligned with Paris Agreement goals;
Implementation-ready: Including actionable measures through its nine key strategies and associated milestones, a set of bold goals, a City Action Plan, and community Playbooks.
Staying within the 2°C threshold of temperature increase will require San José to act proactively to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at a rate of 6.5 percent year-over-year until 2050. To achieve this ambitious trajectory, Climate Smart San José outlines bold goals to help achieve this, including:
1. By 2040, becoming the world’s first 1 GW solar city;
2. By 2021, providing the City’s one million residents with 100% carbon-free energy by 2021;
3. By 2030, creating an additional 22 million sq. ft. of commercial workspace located within half a mile of transit;
4. By 2030, 60% of all passenger vehicles in the city will be electric, making us the electric car capital of the US;
5. By 2030, San José will have developed 40,000 dwelling units in its urban villages and focused growth areas; and
6. By 2030, all new and existing municipal buildings will be Net Zero Carbon (NZC) and by 2050, all existing buildings in the City will be NZC.
San José is committed to ensuring that Climate Smart San José benefits our diverse community, including low-income and multi-family communities and communities of colour, including with the development of culturally inclusive campaigns and community playbooks.