San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO

With a population of approximately 883 thousand residents, San Francisco is California’s fourth-largest city. 

San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area have their fair share of climate change challenges. Over the past century, the Bay’s sea level has risen eight inches, damaging local population and ecosystems. The damage is compounded by unprecedented erosion brought on by the 2015-2016 El Niño storms. The 2012-2016 drought drove statewide moisture to the lowest levels seen in more than 1,000 years. As climate change drags on, the whole Bay expects more “boom and bust” rain cycles with very wet and very dry years. These cycles exacerbate the area’s “large-fire” years, which have gotten steadily worse and more common over the past 80 years.

The City of San Francisco has ambitious climate change prevention and preparedness goals, having successfully reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 23% below 1990 levels, even as its economy and population have grown. San Francisco’s Municipal Code calls for substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions with goals of  40% reductions below 1990 levels by 2025, and 80% reductions by 2050

Mostly hydropower, but also some solar and wind power, provide more than 70% of the electricity consumed in San Francisco

How San Francisco Is Tackling Climate Change

CREDIT: BLOOMBERG

CURRENT NEWS

Map shows what home insurance costs in every California ZIP code

By Kellie Hwang 05/22/24
Today we published a first-of-its-kind interactive map that allows readers to see average home insurance costs for every ZIP code in California.
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Sensor network shows EVs are reducing CO2 emissions in the Bay Area. Is it enough?

By Tony Briscoe 04/04/24
A network of air monitors installed in Northern California has provided scientists with some of the first measurable evidence quantifying how much electric vehicles are shrinking the carbon footprint of a large urban area. Researchers…
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Sea Level Rise in the SF Bay Area Just Got a Lot More Dire

By Matt Simon 03/07/24
If you move to the San Francisco Bay Area, prepare to pay some of the most exorbitant home prices on the planet. Also, prepare for the fact that someday, your new home could be underwater—and…
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Bay Area Clean Energy Provider Seeks Renewable Energy Contracts to Support California Climate Goals

03/04/24
MCE’s 2024 Open Season request for offers is seeking renewable energy resources including those with energy storage. These projects are intended to help lower greenhouse gas emissions while creating clean energy jobs and supporting underserved…
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The 9th Circuit’s Ruling on Gas Bans Stinks. Here’s How We Decarbonize Buildings Anyway.

02/29/24
2023 was the year the gas stove debate was put on the front burner. Whether it was due to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) household energy efficiency reforms or the embarrassing, over-the-top response from Republicans…
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Don’t San Francisco–ize Clean Energy

By Christopher S. Elmendorf 01/28/24
ne great paradox of our time is that to limit humanity’s harms to the planet, we must decarbonize the economy; but to decarbonize the economy, we must build tons of new stuff: wind farms, solar…
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San Francisco City Guides Launches New, Free Climate Change Tour at San Francisco’s Crissy Field

12/27/23
San Francisco City Guides today announced the launch of its new, free Climate Change Walking Tour at San Francisco's Crissy Field on San Francisco Bay. Visitors and locals can embark on an enlightening walking tour…
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Environmentalists say California’s new solar rules will slow renewable energy growth

By Sam Ribakoff 12/13/23
Environmentalists contested a new rule affecting solar panel owners on Wednesday in front of a panel of judges in San Francisco, saying that it removes financial incentives for installing renewable energy infrastructure and violates the…
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First atmospheric river storm of the season heading into Northern California, bringing rain

By Paul Rogers 09/24/23
The first atmospheric river storm of the season is forecast to hit Northern California on Sunday and Monday, bringing much needed help fighting fires in remote, rugged areas near the Oregon border that have sent…
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October eyed for San Fran biogas RFP

By Paul Jarvis 08/30/23
Although the number of teams to have responded to the request for qualifications process has not been revealed, 14 teams had previously responded to the request for information back in March 2021.
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Even replacing your old windows is subject to stifling red tape in San Francisco

By Garen Checkley 08/29/23
“I can tell you right now you aren’t going to choose to replace these windows,” the contractor told my friend and Potrero Hill resident Peter Belden. “The city is going to make it too expensive.”
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Valley fever: Why the fungal disease is spreading into Northern California

By Gabe Castro-Root 08/13/23
The effects of climate change in California, from harsher heat waves to more volatile rainstorms, are well established. Lesser known is what those crises can help fuel: the northern migration of infectious diseases.
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PLANS TO ACCELERATE RENEWABLES

San Francisco Climate Action Strategy

02/25/20
The 2013 San Francisco Climate Action Strategy update is the result of the work and partnerships between city agencies, community members, local businesses, national academic organizations, and international consultants.

Community Climate Action

02/25/20
Goals, progress and the future of local climate action

KEY RESOURCES

Climate Adaptation

06/26/20
Managing the effects of climate change.

Focus 2030: A Pathway to Net Zero Emissions (Climate Report, July 2019)

02/25/20
This report demonstrates that achieving deep emissions reductions will require an ongoing commitment that builds upon and surpasses San Francisco’s past successes. Without further progress on emission-reducing policies and programs, greenhouse gases citywide will trend…

SF Environment

02/25/20
The San Francisco Department of the Environment provides solutions that advance climate protection and enhance quality of life for all San Franciscans. View the department's Strategic Plan for meeting the City's sustainability and climate change goals.

Save the Bay

02/25/20
In this era of climate change and a growing population, we work with scientists and policymakers to protect the Bay, an essential natural resource to our environment, economy, and quality of life.

Food Service Waste Reduction Ordinance (2007 Requirements – Food Vendors & Restaurants)

02/07/20
The Food Service Waste Reduction Ordinance requires food vendors and restaurants in San Francisco to use compostable or recyclable to-go containers. Using compostable and recyclable food service ware is one way businesses and consumers can…

Checkout Bag Ordinance

02/05/20
The City and County of San Francisco amended Chapter 17 of the Environment Code, extending the plastic checkout bag ban to include all retail stores on 10/1/2012 and all food establishments starting on 10/1/2013.

MORE NEWS

To Fight Climate Change, We Need the Newark Baylands

By Lynne Trulio and John Callaway   08/04/23  
Just south of the Dumbarton Bridge, right next to the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Newark, lies one of the most important conservation opportunities for the future of San Francisco Bay—and…
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UCSF doctors leading way on eliminating climate-harmful general anesthesia gas use

By Sara Donchey and Molly Mccrea   08/03/23  
Doctors in San Francisco are at the forefront of a movement to replace the drugs used for general anesthesia, which have been determined to be contributing to our climate change crisis.
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SF must update infrastructure for extreme heat, reports found

By Greg Wong   07/19/23  
San Francisco wants to bolster its resilience to extreme heat by improving its notoriously outdated infrastructure.
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S.F. is uniquely vulnerable to extreme heat. These maps show areas most at risk

By Hannah Hagemann and Yoohyun Jung   07/17/23  
It happens again and again — a heat wave strikes California and the East Bay sizzles while fog envelops San Francisco neighborhoods, regulating otherwise dangerous temperatures. Residents rely on this cooling, in a city where…
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It will cost $110 billion to protect San Francisco Bay from rising sea levels, new study shows

By Paul Rogers   07/13/23  
Protecting the homes and businesses, highways and airports, sewage treatment plants and other key parts of society that ring San Francisco Bay’s shoreline from sea level rise will be a massive challenge over the next…
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Volunteer project surveys Bay Area coast, sea life to predict impacts of climate change

By Dan Ashley and Tim Didion   07/13/23  
As they sift through the sands along the Moss Beach shoreline, you could say this team from the California Academy of Sciences is literally taking a snapshot of climate change. Or at least, it's effect…
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Combating Climate Change Begins With Reparations, Bay Area Residents Say

By Adam Mahoney   07/13/23  
Freda Linder walks daily past a small sign donned with 20 words in Crescent Park Apartments, a majority-Black housing complex in Northern California’s Bay Area.
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San Francisco’s Aging Infrastructure Isn’t Ready for Its Wetter Future

By Ezra David Romero   07/08/23  
San Francisco’s future looks a whole lot wetter, thanks in part to human-caused climate change.
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Rising groundwater raises threat of Bay Area soils’ toxins, study finds

By Carmela Guaglianone   06/29/23  
Rising groundwater on thousands of contaminated sites in the Bay Area has the potential to cause serious health problems, according to a new UC Berkeley study.
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Most of state’s shores could vanish by 2100 — but Ocean Beach has a plan

By Carmela Guaglianone   06/08/23  
When the King Phillip, an American cargo ship, ran aground on San Francisco’s Ocean Beach in 1878, its bells, whistles, metal fittings and sails were sold on the auction block. The hull was blown up…
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San Francisco clean-energy startup aims for hydrogen breakthrough for trucking

By John Woolfolk   05/30/23  
California has long been in the vanguard of pursuing renewable energy, and Gov. Gavin Newsom has budgeted billions of dollars for supporting and accelerating the state’s transition toward clean energy.
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How The City is bracing for climate change after winter deluges

By Jessica Wolfrom   05/26/23  
After a sopping wet winter sent rainwater rushing into storm drains, pooling in driveways, and flooding homes, streets and businesses, The City announced this week that it would pour nearly $800 million into shoring up…
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Alternative energy company aims to turn landfill fumes into fuel

By John Ramos   05/22/23  
With California pushing to end the use of fossil fuels, a company based in Wyoming is bringing alternative fuel technology to the Bay Area that could help. And it all starts at the landfill.
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Attorney General Bonta Files Amicus Brief Supporting Oakland and San Francisco’s Efforts to Hold Big Oil Accountable for Misleading the Public, Worsening the Climate Crisis

05/12/23  
California Attorney General Rob Bonta, leading a coalition of 16 attorneys general, filed an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals supporting the City of Oakland and the City and County of San…
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Department of Energy appoints SF State School of Engineering to lead expanded pathways to clean energy jobs

By Kanaga Rajan   04/12/23  
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded San Francisco State University $3.75 million to establish and lead the new Western Regional Center of Excellence to train a new generation of clean energy engineers and improve…
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What’s the total cost to swap out gas heat for electric? One Bay Area homeowner says almost $20,000

By Claire Hao   03/20/23  
Bay Area regulators voted last week to phase out gas furnaces and water heaters over the coming years, despite strong concerns about adding financial burdens to residents in a region already saddled with extremely high…
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EX // EARTH: Bay Area says no to NOx

By Jessica Wolfrom   03/16/23  
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District, or BAAQMD, adopted two new rules to limit smog-forming pollutants known as nitrogen oxides, or NOx, by requiring a gradual phase-out of current gas-fired furnaces and water heaters…
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The Bay Area is going electric for furnaces and water heaters

By Maxine Joselow and Vanessa Montalbano   03/16/23  
Bay Area officials voted to adopt landmark rules phasing out gas appliances. Yesterday, officials in the San Francisco Bay Area approved the nation’s first rules phasing out new natural-gas-powered water heaters and furnaces.
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Bay Area to begin phasing out gas heaters this decade

By Sherry Listgarten   03/15/23  
In a momentous and likely highly influential vote at the end of a six-hour meeting on Wednesday, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) voted to ban the sale of gas heaters. More specifically,…
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Batteries blocked by bureaucracy in San Francisco

By Jessica Wolfrom   03/15/23  
When John-Paolo Rapagnani, Juliano Lodi and Frederick Reid IV started Sutro Power in San Francisco in 2019, it was a golden era for the industry in California.
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New zero-emissions ferry to begin operating in San Francisco

By Robert J. Lopez   03/13/23  
A new zero-emissions ferry powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology has arrived in San Francisco, where it will undergo trial runs and preparations to carry passengers later this year.
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AG Bonta settles with Bay Area gas station owners over environmental violations

03/06/23  
The owners of 14 gas stations in the Bay Area, Northern and Central California have been ordered to pay $1.7 million to settle alleged environmental violations, prosecutors said.
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San Francisco holds its breath to find out how much it will cost to protect its waterfront from sea level rise

By David Knowles   02/22/23  
On a brisk February morning, a portable orange traffic sign set up near the intersection of Mission Street and Embarcadero shuddered in the wind, blinking a warning to passing drivers: “Caution: King tides.”
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How crushed shells are helping restore Bay Area oyster and clam ecosystems, combat climate change

By Spencer Christian and Tim Didian   02/09/23  
At San Francisco's Presidio, wildlife ecologists are using nesting pods made with ground-up oyster shells, designed to attract and nurture tiny, growing oysters. It's a shoreline project that may eventually help their broader ecosystem.
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Study uncovers underground flood risk in Bay Area due to storms, climate change

By Dan Ashley and Tim Didion   02/02/23  
Powerful storms offer clear evidence of how vulnerable parts of the Bay Area are to flooding. But now, a new study is raising concerns about a kind of "double threat" right underneath our feet.
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24/7 carbon-free energy is about to become a reality in California

By Jeff St. John   01/18/23  
Five years ago, California community energy provider Peninsula Clean Energy decided that buying enough clean energy to match its average annual electricity demand wasn’t enough. Instead, it wanted to deliver clean energy to its customers…
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San Francisco’s Climate Action Plan will cost billions. Here’s how we’ll pay for it

By Jessica Wolfrom   11/16/22  
When it comes to planning for the worsening impacts of climate change, funding is as important as the plan itself. But securing such funding amid other pressing priorities, like addressing the housing and homelessness crises…
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Funding & Financing San Francisco’s Ambitious Climate Action Plan

By Katie Segal   11/15/22  
Cities are leaders in climate policy and planning, and many cities have developed local climate action plans (CAPs) that envision strategies to reduce emissions and increase resilience in a changing climate. Hundreds of local governments…
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San Francisco makes progress on climate plan

By Megan Rose Dickey   11/10/22  
Despite California voters rejecting a ballot initiative this week to tax the wealthy to encourage electric vehicle adoption, San Francisco is chipping away at its ambitious plan to be a net-zero emissions city by 2040.
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Outdoor living rooms and renewable power: How San Francisco is fighting climate change

By Charlotte Elton & Maeve Campbell    11/05/22  
Air pollution and traffic congestion plague cities throughout the world. But it doesn’t have to be this way. In San Francisco, a number of environmental initiatives are encouraging eco-friendly habits, increasing urban greenery, and making…
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Why San Francisco Is at Risk of 20ft Waves—and Why They May Get Even Bigger

By Jess Thomson   11/02/22  
Enormous waves of up to 19 feet were forecast for early this week in San Francisco. "There is a northwest swell that is coming in ahead of [Tuesday's] cold front," Dalton Behringer, a forecaster with…
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Recycled water may prove crucial for Northern California amid ongoing droughts, climate change

By Ezra David Romero   10/25/22  
The San Francisco Bay Area is far behind Southern California in reusing water. Policy experts say it could take decades for the state’s second-most populous region to catch up — the lower half of the…
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S.F., Oakland can sue oil companies over climate change in state court, federal judge rules

By Bob Egelko   10/24/22  
San Francisco and Oakland can sue major oil companies in a California state court for selling fossil fuel products and allegedly deceiving customers about their impact on climate change, a federal judge ruled Monday, rejecting…
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Santa Clara County adopts initiative to address concerns over rising sea level

By Omar Pérez   01/11/22  
On Tuesday, Santa Clara County leaders moved forward with a resolution to address sea levels rising and mitigate the impacts of climate change in the region. At the first Board of Supervisors meeting of 2022,…
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Want S.F. to achieve net-zero carbon emissions? Don’t forget to green the health care industry

By Henna Hundal and Gurbani Kaur   01/10/22  
The Bay Area has been making important strides on climate action, most recently with Mayor London Breed’s unveiling of a 2021 climate action plan that aims to make San Francisco a net-zero emissions city by…
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King Tides Have Been Flooding the San Francisco Area — Here’s What That Means

By Lizzy Rosenberg   01/04/22  
San Francisco is having a rough start to the year, to say the least. In addition to a major COVID spike across the Bay Area, the California metropolis is experiencing massive king tides, which are…
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San Francisco’s 2022 environmental wish list

By Jessica Wolfrom   12/30/21  
It was another tough year for California’s climate. Wildfires created their own weather patterns and destroyed nearly 2.6 million acres of forests in 2021. Droughts challenged water supplies and stressed our food system. And while…
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For First Time, San Francisco Lands Top Spot In Clean Energy Rankings

12/15/21  
San Francisco took top honors for the first time in the sixth edition of the 2021 City Clean Energy Scorecard, followed by Seattle (#2), Washington, DC (#3), Minneapolis (#4), and Boston and New York (tied…
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4 Bay Area teens win 2021 International Young Eco-Hero awards for strategies to fight climate change

By Sandhya Patel and Tim Didion   09/19/21  
Fremont teenager Ganesh Kumar decided to target plastic pollution and won a notable mention for his do-it-yourself, biodegradable straw.
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No, damming the Golden Gate won’t save the Bay Area from rising seas

By Andrew Gunther and Jeremy Lowe   09/18/21  
As climate-enhanced storms continue to pound the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, producing historic and too often deadly flooding, it’s imperative that the Bay Area take note and start planning for the dangers that climate change…
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EXCLUSIVE California Bay area regulators probe Phillips 66 refinery work -email

By Laura Sanicola   09/16/21  
Sept 15 (Reuters) - California Bay Area regulators are investigating whether Phillips 66 failed to obtain necessary permits to produce renewable fuels at its oil refinery in Rodeo, according to an email reviewed by Reuters.
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Project to combat climate change, rising sea levels begins at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach

By Amy Hollyfield   09/10/21  
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers celebrated the Ocean Beach Nourishment Project Thursday, a project designed to confront the issue of climate change.
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Are SF and SoCal Prepared for Droughts and Climate Change?

By Doug Obegi and Ashley Cooper   08/30/21  
Scientists and conservation groups including NRDC have been warning for years that farms and cities in California need to plan to divert less water from the Bay-Delta watershed, and the 2009 enactment of the Delta…
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Why Greenland’s rapid ice melt could pose climate threat to San Francisco Bay

By Tim Didion and Spencer Christian   08/27/21  
Last week rain, not snow, fell on Greenland's highest summit for the first time on record -- An indication of rising temperatures.
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S.F. will soon roll out nation’s first hydrogen ferry

By Jessica Wolfrom   08/25/21  
When it enters Bay Area waters in the coming months, a 70-foot passenger vessel named the Sea Change will be the first commercial hydrogen fuel cell ferry to operate in the United States.
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Young climate activists marched 266 miles from Paradise to SF demanding change

By Luz Pena   06/15/21  
Young activists from across the state marched across the Golden Gate Bridge to the homes of Senator Dianne Feinstein and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, demanding support for the Civilian Climate Corps Act as "the first…
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Arup details San Francisco International’s Zero Net Energy Plan

By Lawrence Butcher   06/09/21  
Climate change is causing significant environmental, economic and social impacts around the world. In the case of California, heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, sea level rise, public health and local economies demand attention and resources as never…
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‘Wake for whales’ held in San Francisco

By Bay City News   06/08/21  
A wake to mark the deaths of a dozen whales that have washed up on Bay Area shores this year will be held Tuesday morning at Crissy Field in San Francisco.
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East Palo Alto Community Rises Up To Face Rising Seas

By Kevin Stark and Ezra David Romero   05/27/21  
The first time the streets flooded, Appollonia Grey ‘Uhilamoelangi, known as Mama Dee in her East Palo Alto community, got a little nostalgic. The weather, though severely inclement, at least reminded her of home in…
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Feinstein, Padilla Introduce Bill to Restore San Francisco Bay

05/27/21  
Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla (both D-Calif.) today introduced the San Francisco Bay Restoration Act, a bill to create a permanent program within the Environmental Protection Agency dedicated to restoring the San Francisco Bay ecosystem,
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