On the eastern side of San Francisco Bay, Oakland has a population of around 433,000 people and a land area of around 56 square miles. This makes Oakland approximately ten times the size of San Francisco with half the population.
Climate change has caused Oakland’s sea level to rise eight inches over the past 100 years, which has caused significant damage to local ecosystems. The 2015-2016 El Niño storms chipped away at it’s coasts, making the sea level rise even more costly to both people and wildlife. Oakland also suffered from the area’s 2015-2016 drought, another result of climate change. As the Earth continues to warm, Oakland can expect more periods of drought and powerful storms. Nearby wildfires, also a result of climate change, makes breathing a problem for residents year-round. As climate change drags on, East Oakland flats will become even hotter because of the asphalt and gray industrial concrete that absorbs the sun’s heat. Since recreation centers and schools do not have air conditioning as a result of historical injustice, East Oakland’s residents have less access to local cooling centers. The area’s lack of trees also adds to the impact of even walking in the community on a hot day.
Oakland developed a new Equitable Climate Action Plan (ECAP) which passed the Oakland City Council unanimously in July 2020. The ECAP is the City’s 10-year plan for mitigating and adapting to the climate crisis in ways that improve racial equity across Oakland. The ECAP includes 40 Actions across 7 sectors. More than 2,000 Oaklanders provided insights that were incorporated into the Plan over a two-year development period.
The ECAP was developed pursuant to City Council’s adopted 2030 greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 56% relative to 2005 levels, as well as Oaklands 2018 Climate Emergency and Just Transition Resolution. Oakland’s City Council also adopted a 2045 Carbon Neutrality Goal, calling for a dramatic reduction in Oakland’s greenhouse gas emissions and “deep decarbonization” of the building and transportation sectors by 2045. This follows the previous reduction target of 36 percent by 2020.