San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom welcomed a full house of Green IT entrepreneurs at GigaOM’s first-ever Green:Net conference by proclaiming: “If you have an idea, let me know. We are a laboratory for innovation.”
Newsom said his first environmental initiatives were fairly easy. “It didn’t take much more than a piece of paper and a pen and executive orders,” he said, to lower city emissions 6 percent below 1990 levels by last September. Now, things have gotten harder and more ambitious.
Newsom offered an impassioned rundown of San Francisco environmental accomplishments and projects since he took office:
- Third-party review to independently analyze CO2 emissions.
- Reducing tailpipe emissions on the city vehicle fleet
- LEED certification for the new Academy of Sciences last Thursday
- Put together the first mapping system for solar installations — on a web page, you locate your roof, drill down to the square footage available for solar, and print out rebate applications on the same page
- Aggressive recycling initiatives — banning plastic bags (lots of attention), banning styrofoam (no attention), trying to ban bottled water (way too much attention!)
- Started real discussions with Shai Agassi and Better Place, and got 10 counties to agree on standardized electric car-charging stations
- Partnered with Cisco on reducing emissions coming from computers and telecommunication equipment — created cheap prototype bus that gives emissions data
- Plan to charge more for parking during peak times
- First commercial wave power project off the end of Ocean Beach started Feb. 27
- Right below the Golden Gate Bridge looking to implement an underwater wind farm — very dense, consistent energy as Bay flushes itself every day. “We’re very close to getting a small pilot there. We may have overpromised but hope not to underdeliver.”