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



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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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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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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San Francisco Climate Action Strategy

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

Goals, progress and the future of local climate action


Climate Adaptation

Managing the effects of climate change.

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

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

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

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)

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

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.


Maps: How SF compares in size to California’s largest wildfires

By Chronicle Digital Team   10/29/19  
To help visualize the immense size of the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County, graphic artist Todd Trumbull created these maps to compare the burn area as of 7 p.m. Oct. 28 to the footprint of…
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San Francisco chef’s big win for climate change

A San Francisco chef has become the first American to win the Basque Culinary World Prize - an award that honors contributions beyond the kitchen.
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UNA-SF World Environment Day 2019: Robert Reed on Zero Waste San Francisco

Robert Reed describes how Recology is partnering with local government and its citizens to bring about the vision of Zero Waste.
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Tips from a pro: How you can live ‘zero waste’ in the Bay Area

By Dion Lim   12/08/18  
As a part of Building a Better Bay Area, we're looking at the complex issue of recycling. San Francisco hopes to reach zero waste by the year 2020, meaning nothing will go to the landfill…
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San Francisco’s Version of a Green New Deal Is Taking Over Its Power Company

By David R Baker   03/12/19  
What happens when a famously left-leaning city dives into the buttoned-down business of electric utilities? San Francisco may soon find out. City officials are studying the possibility of creating their own utility out of the…
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