In his quest to make San Francisco the greenest city in the nation, Mayor Gavin Newsom recently created a $160,000-a-year job for a senior aide and gave him the ambitious-sounding title of director of climate protection initiatives.(Via Junk Science blog)
But officials in the Newsom administration say that even 25 people working on climate issues is not enough and that having a director in the mayor's inner circle is necessary to coordinate all the city's climate initiatives."
If there are 25 people working on climate protection issues for the city, that's a good start," Newsom spokesman Nathan Ballard said. "Ten years ago [when the "globe" was still "warming"], there probably weren't any. It's smart policy to have one point person at the highest level of city government to coordinate all 25 of them."
The city has a climate action plan, issued by Newsom after he took office in 2004, that aims to cut the city's greenhouse emissions by 2012 to 20 percent below 1990's level.
In addition to the director of climate protection initiatives in Newsom's office, San Francisco has an Energy and Climate Program team of eight people in the Department of the Environment, who combined earn more than $800,000 a year in salary and benefits, including a "climate action coordinator." At least 12 San Francisco Public Utilities Commission staff members work on climate issues related to water and energy, including a $146,000-a-year "projects manager for the climate action plan."
Also in the name of climate control, the Municipal Transportation Agency has a "manager of emissions reductions and sustainability programs" who works on making Muni's bus fleet greener, and the San Francisco International Airport has a "manager of environmental services" who oversees such projects as the installation of energy-efficient lighting and solar panels.
The list doesn't include the scores of staff members who work on broader environmental policies, like the recently hired $130,700-a-year "greening director" in Newsom's office, or Jared Blumenfeld, who earns $207,500 a year in salary and benefits as the head of the city's Environment Department, which has a staff of 65 and annual budget of about $14 million.