City Hires Climate Coordinator To Tackle Global Warming

(October 31, 2005)

Press Contact:

Mark Westlund

(415) 355-3714

SAN FRANCISCO, BC – Most scientists agree that global warming is real, and here in the Bay Area the effects could be ruinous. A three-foot rise in sea levels, which some studies anticipate, would destroy coastal wetlands and inundate infrastructure on low-lying areas including SBC Park, airports, railroads, highways, and sewage treatment plants. In an effort to address global warming concerns, the San Francisco Department of the Environment has hired the city's first Climate Action Coordinator, Melissa Capria.

Ms. Capria will coordinate with partner agencies to implement emissions reduction goals the city developed through the Climate Action Plan, MUNI's Zero Emissions 2020 Plan, and the Electricity Resource Plan. Capria will also monitor local, state, and national greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to chart San Francisco's progress towards its target of attaining 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2012, as called for in the city's Climate Action Plan.

"San Francisco holds itself accountable for its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. The city is responsible for about 9.7 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year, so it's time to turn policy into action," explains Jared Blumenfeld, director of the Department of the Environment. "Melissa Capria's expertise will help the city on its way to emissions reductions and a more sustainable future."

Capria will work with stakeholders to reduce the emissions that cause global warming and incorporate the City's goals. Her priorities include:

  • Tracking local, state and national emission activities.

  • Accessing and familiarizing all plans in place that calls for action to reduce emissions including the Climate Action Plan, Zero Emissions 2020, and the Electricity Resource Plan.

  • Establishing an interdepartmental working group with an external advisory group made up of community stakeholders to assure plan implementations

  • Exploring the option of emission cap and trade programs

"This will be a very challenging task, but one that I am eager to take on" said Capria, who added: "I am fortunate to be doing this in San Francisco where the citizens care so much about the environment."

Capria comes to SF Environment from ICLEI, the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, an international association committed to sustainable development. During her tenure at ICLEI, Capria worked with city agencies throughout the country, developing emission reduction strategies, quantifying greenhouse gas emissions and reduction measures, and creating strategic partnerships with regional and national organizations. In addition, she has worked for the Sierra Club and Greenpeace. Capria has a Masters degree in International Environmental Policy with specific focus on Energy and Climate Change and received her undergraduate degree in Political Science at the State University of New York.

Climate Action Plan

San Francisco's Climate Action Plan was created by the Department of the Environment, the Public Utilities Commission, and ICLEI and carves out benchmark greenhouse gas emissions, makes projections on the impacts global warming might have on the region, and outlines specific actions in the key areas of transportation, solid waste management, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. The plan projects that a three-foot rise in sea level would compromise existing infrastructure including highways, sewage treatment plants, and roads in addition to submerging parts of the San Francisco International Airport, SBC Park, and Treasure Island under water. The plan also presents steps to aid the City in reducing its emissions.

Zero Emissions 2020 Plan

The Zero Emissions 2020 Plan commits the City to develop a clean air plan for public transit. In coordination with San Francisco Municipal Railway (MUNI), "Zero Emissions 2020" focuses on the purchase of cleaner transit buses including hybrid diesel-electric buses. The plan also discusses the option of purchasing hydrogen fuel cell buses when they become commercially available in the next ten to fifteen years. To move toward that direction, the Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) approved a Request For Proposal (RFP) to enlist the work from bus manufacturers that will result in the acquisition of a fleet of diesel-electric hybrid buses for MUNI. This will be the first in California where a transit agency purchases the technology, while taking advantage of the California Air Resource Board (CARB) regulations. Other major transit agencies including New York City, Boston, and Seattle have adopted plans to use the hybrid technology within their respective public transportation systems.

Electricity Resource Plan

SF Environment and the Public Utilities Commission developed the Electricity Resource Plan after a series of public meetings to leverage existing policy to help shut down power plants in Bayview Hunters Point and Potrero Hill. The plan makes recommendations on energy efficiency, and the production of clean electricity through renewable means including solar, wind, and the ocean tides and waves.


Department of the Environment

City and County of San Francisco

11 Grove Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Telephone: (415) 355-3700 | Fax: (415) 554-6393

Email: |