07/24/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Green Leadership

As President George Bush has steadily rolled back environmental protections -- his shocking commitment to open up our beautiful coastlines to offshore drilling is only the latest outrage -- the responsibility to protect our environment has fallen to cities, states and many dedicated individuals.

San Francisco is one of the greenest cities in the country today because we did not wait for Washington. We are taking action now to green our environment and our economy from the ground up. But we are making so much progress because we are working with so many talented people.

One of our most visionary partners in protecting the environment is Van Jones. Van is the founder and president of Green For All. He is combining solutions to America's two biggest challenges -- social inequality and environmental destruction -- by creating and promoting green collar jobs.

I am proud to announce that I will be introducing Van at Netroots Nation on Sunday in Austin, TX. For details click here.

With the help of people like Van we are establishing a new green economy in California while reducing our dependence on foreign oil, slashing the amount of greenhouse gases being released into the environment, and promoting clean and renewable energy. We are ensuring that the neighborhoods that were locked out of the pollution-based economy are locked in to the new green economy.

In San Francisco, we are moving aggressively to combat climate change because we believe we can be a model for other cities.

We have already attained carbon emission reductions that bring city and county levels nearly to 1990 levels, and city government emissions are already below 1990 levels.

San Francisco has the highest recycling rate in the nation at 70%. And we have just committed to 75% by 2010.

On July 1st San Francisco launched the nation's largest solar incentive program providing solar rebates to local residents and businesses ranging from $3,000-$10,000, making solar a reality for every home in San Francisco that wants it.

We have converted the City's entire diesel vehicle fleet to B20 biodiesel -- that's a total of 1,500 cars, trucks, buses, and other vehicles.

We have also introduced the most comprehensive green building ordinance in the country. It imposes green building requirements on newly constructed residential buildings, newly constructed commercial buildings over 25,000 sq ft, and renovations over 5,000 sq ft. And we have made this commitment hand-in-hand with private businesses and developers. They understand that building "green" isn't next year -- it's right now.

We are aggressively advancing local renewable energy generation -- tidal, wind, wave, solar and geothermal. And this is just the beginning. With the help and encouragement of people like Van, we are going to light our neighborhoods with renewable power.

If you are at Netroots Nation, I hope you will stick around on Sunday morning to see Van Jones speak. He has been an inspiration to me, and I know his commitment to a fairer, cleaner future will inspire you too. For details click here.