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 is developing a new Equitable Climate Action Plan (ECAP). The 2030 ECAP will spell out steps that Oakland can take to reduce its emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change. The plan will include a new greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 56% relative to the city’s 2005 baseline year by 2030. This follows a previous reduction target of 36% by 2020, which the City’s first ECAP, adopted by Council in 2012, is striving to meet.
Currently, the city staff is revising the new ECAP plan based on public feedback. The Council will review the revised draft for adoption in July of 2020.