Officials meet for green initiatives

September 10, 2008 12:08:20 PM PDT
Top state officials and Bay Area mayors are convening to talk about green initiatives. They're trying to create a clean and green living environment around the bay - using everything from building standards to green-collar jobs.

This clean and green gathering of government and business leaders is all a part of the annual Silicon Valley projections. Every year the Silicon Valley leadership group brings together community leaders to address regional challenges and solutions. This year the focus is on the environment.

Throughout the morning, a variety of panels have been discussing topics such as improving transportation, including bringing BART to Silicon Valley and plans for California's high-speed rail.

Another panel, including Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi, talked about housing, building and land use and how to create a common standard for green building and rooftop solar usage to help reduce energy consumption.

Also, a highlight of this clean and green projections conference is a panel presenting a Regional Compact for Climate Change. Mayors from the three big Bay Area cities -- San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland -- are all here to pledge their support behind taking immediate action to limit greenhouse gas emissions and improve environmental conditions in the region. It's an action plan that has been a year in the making. It's a public-private partnership that will need financial support from outside city coffers.

"There are a lot of challenges - cost is one of those things. Part of what we're trying to do in San Jose is to figure out how to do these things with other people's money - so that the cities don't have to cough up money to do that because every city is stressed in these tough budget times," said Mayor Chuck Reed (D) San Jose.

"Can we do more on transit- like bringing BART to Santa Clara County? Can we get more people on bikes and walking? Can we do land-use patterns that facilitate different kinds of trips? So this regional compact for climate change is around real solutions that can be adopted; some cost money, most do not," said Carl Guardino, Silicon Valley Leader Group.

Some of the specific goals set for 2013 include:

  • Reducing electrical usage in municipal buildings by 10-percent
  • Boosting renewable energy usage, like solar and wind power
  • Increasing use of electric cars

    In total there are ten action goals, which also entail adding 20,000 so-called green collar jobs and diverting more waste from landfills.

    They are also hoping to get some of the other smaller cities on board. Four major agencies have also signed up to help with this regional climate compact, including the Bay Area Air Quality Agency and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. This is a first ever climate change compact and they plan to present it to a joint committee later this fall; that is hopefully when it will start to take action.


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