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

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

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…

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…

‘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.

East Palo Alto Community Rises Up To Face Rising Seas

By Kevin Stark and Ezra David Romero  Photo: JJ Harris , KQED   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…

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,

Sea-Level Rise Affects Coastal Areas 4 Times Faster Than We Thought. Here’s Why

By Peter Dockrill  Photo by Byba Sepit   03/09/21  
The sea is rising, but that's not all. Scientists say current assessments of global sea-level rise have disregarded an important phenomenon affecting coastal regions – an oversight that means the ongoing specter of sea-level rise…

The San Francisco Bay Area’s largest solar farm is approved

By Michelle Lewis   03/09/21  
The Aramis Renewable Energy Project is Intersect Power’s 100-megawatt solar farm that will feature around 300,000 solar panels. Construction could start in mid-2022 and operations could begin by mid-2023. It would power up to 25,000 homes and…

Young people seeking to change federal policy on climate change try new tactic

By Bob Egelko  Photo by Robin Loznak   03/09/21  
After a federal appeals court reluctantly dismissed a lawsuit by 21 young people demanding government action against climate change, the youths proposed Tuesday to scale back their suit and seek only a ruling that U.S.…

Climate Change Will Reshape Silicon Valley As We Know It

By Tim O' Reilly  Photo by Wei Fang   03/08/21  
High-profile entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, venture capitalists like Peter Thiel and Keith Rabois, and big companies like Oracle and HP Enterprise are all leaving California. During Covid-19, Zoom-enabled tech workers are discovering the benefits of remote work…

New satellite images show Northern California’s kelp forest almost gone

By Tara Duggan  Photo by John Anderson   03/05/21  
The kelp forest that only eight years ago formed a leafy ocean canopy along the Northern California coast has almost completely disappeared, and scientists who study kelp and the species that depend on it are…

The San Francisco Bay Once Teemed With Oysters. What Happened?

By Chloe Veltman  Photo by Elle Hughes   03/04/21  
Some people slurp them down by the dozen, while others would rather go hungry for days than be forced to eat a single slimy specimen.

Why are our cities sinking and what does it have to do with climate change?

By Maeve Campbell   02/24/21  
The world’s cities are at risk of collapsing under their own weight, according to a new study. New research shows that the growth of large urban areas exerts increased pressure on the Earth’s surface.

Climate legislation signals a renewed focus on the San Francisco Bay

By Staff Writer  Photo by Ingrid Taylar   02/20/21  
The San Francisco Bay, one of the nation’s most valuable but neglected ecosystems, faces an existential threat posed by climate change.

How Bay Area farms could give Biden a blueprint for fighting climate change

By Daniella Echeverria  Photo by Scott Strazzante   02/12/21  
In one of his first acts in office, President Biden said he wants farmers and ranchers to tell him how to fight climate change.

How is Climate Change Already Impacting the Bay Area?

By Raj Mathai   02/01/21  
Our earth is changing: summers are growing hotter and winters are more unpredictable. There’s simply not enough rain, and there are too many fires.

S.F. supervisor’s creative proposal: Make it hard to build McMansions, easier to build small apartments

By Heather Knight  Photo by Lea Suzuki   01/30/21  
Take a walk around the Glen Park neighborhood, as I did the other day with Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, and you’ll run into reminders that San Francisco often operates in open defiance of the values we…

Bay Area Rep Introduces Environmental Restoration Bill

By Bay City News  Photo by David Paul Morris   01/30/21  
Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, announced a bill on Thursday that seeks to use federal funding to improve the San Francisco Bay's environmental health.

Bay Area Climate Change Hotspots

By Jeff Ranieri, Rob Mayeda, Kari Hall, Vianey Arana, Alex Bozovic, Joyce Huntington and Makayla Humphrey   01/30/21  
Our NBC Bay Area meteorologists fanned out across the Bay Area to get a read on problems climate change is creating in the waters that surround us, our forests, our rivers and streams, and the…

Feds ‘shortchange’ San Francisco Bay – local Congress members want money for restoration

By Kurtis Alexander  Photo by Jessica Christian   01/28/21  
San Francisco Bay is dwarfed by the Chesapeake Bay, Puget Sound and other treasured estuaries when it comes to federal funding, and California lawmakers want that changed.

Los Angeles, San Francisco brace for damaging winds, rare January fire threat

By Diana Leonard and Andrew Freedman   01/19/21  
An unusually strong and far-reaching high wind event is descending upon California today through Wednesday, bringing damaging winds and the threat of fast-moving wildfires from Sacramento to San Francisco and southward to Los Angeles. The…

Fight to make Big Oil pay for climate change heads to Supreme Court

By Kurtis Alexander  Photo by Amy Osborne   01/19/21  
Baltimore may be a continent away from San Francisco, but the coastal cities have at least one thing in common: rising seas.

Clearway flips the switch on 192 MW solar project in California

By Joe Bebon   01/06/21  
San Francisco-based Clearway Energy Group has completed the 192 MW Rosamond Central solar project. Located in Kern County, California, the project has power purchase agreements with regional community choice aggregators East Bay Community Energy (EBCE)…

The Dirtiest And Cleanest Cities In America (The Worst Will Surprise You)

Laura Begley Bloom  Photo by Getty Images   12/31/20  
As 2020 comes to an end and people are beginning to consider traveling again, health, safety and cleanliness have become top priorities. In order to shed light on the places in America with the best—and…

Top 10 LEED-Certified Buildings in San Francisco in 2020

By Adina Marcut   12/21/20  
CPE compiled a list of the top LEED-certified buildings in San Francisco through November, based on USGBC data.

King Tide on San Francisco Embarcadero Illustrates Climate Change Risk

By John Ramos   12/13/20  
Spectators traveled to San Francisco’s Embarcadero Sunday morning to witness the high water of a king tide. It was an opportunity for people to ponder the city’s future as sea levels continue to rise.

San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland Bring Electrification This Holiday Season

By Matt Gough   12/08/20  
Before 2019, not a single city in the United States had laws prohibiting the use of fossil gas in new buildings. Now, at the end of 2020, 40 cities have passed electrification ordinances across California, with many…

MicroClimates: The fight over solar farms — in your backyard

By Taylor Kate Brown  Photo by Sarahbeth Maneh   12/08/20  
Welcome to MicroClimates, The Chronicle’s climate change newsletter. If someone forwarded you this email, you can sign up here.

San Francisco Bans New Natural Gas Hookups

By Lloyd Alter  Photo by Aleksandar Nakic   11/13/20  
San Francisco has become the biggest American city yet to ban natural gas in new buildings. Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, who wrote the legislation, says natural gas is responsible for 44% of the city's overall emissions…

Tom Steyer Selling San Francisco Home Because of ‘Climate Crisis’

By Katie Grimes  Photo by Gage Skidmore   09/26/20  
“Billionaire environmental activist and former presidential candidate Tom Steyer is selling a couple of homes in his portfolio. Last month, he parted with a Lake Tahoe home for $2.8 million, and now he is putting…

Is climate change worsening California fires, or is it poor forest management? Both, experts say

By J.D. Morris  Photo by Scott Strazzante   09/14/20  
Long before climate change severely parched California, priming it to burn at a record scale, federal foresters made an inventory of trees in the southern Sierra Nevada.

Californians asked to conserve energy as holiday heat wave looms

By Danielle Echeverria   09/03/20  
The California power grid operator is asking residents to conserve energy this weekend, with a brutal heat wave projected to bring an increase in electricity demand while people try to stay cool.

What Rising Seas Mean for San Francisco

By Jill Cowan  Photo by Chang W. Lee   02/19/20  
How the Bay Area is confronting climate change.

Buffing up San Francisco’s historic piers to survive sea level rise

By John King   02/06/20  
When the now-historic finger piers along San Francisco’s Embarcadero were built, you can bet the builders never expected that a century later, there would be engineering studies on how to prepare the gaunt sheds for…

Can San Francisco, Oakland win billions from the oil industry for climate change?

By Kurtis Alexander  Photo: Jessica Christian / The Chronicle   02/04/20  
A handful of California cities and counties want billions of dollars from the oil industry for the problems arising from climate change, and their far-reaching legal push is about to face a crucial test in…

Tony SF Restaurants Adopt Surcharge to Fight Climate Change

By Eve Batey  Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images   01/21/20  
Diners at some of San Francisco most popular restaurants might notice a new line item on their bills this month, a one percent add-on that’s known as the Restore California surcharge — a fee that’s…

King Tides: A Story of the Moon, Sun and Sea

By Danielle Venton  Photo by Sarah Craig   01/10/20  
A sunny walk along San Francisco's Embarcadero is about as nice as it gets, with the waterside promenade framed by a stunning view of the Bay Bridge. Strolling day trippers can also visit much-loved city…

San Francisco Bay dredging fuels an unexpected concern: climate change

By Kurtis Alexander  Photo: Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle   11/30/19  
What began as an unremarkable bid to deepen a shipping channel in San Francisco Bay, making it easier for cargo vessels to come and go, has become a flash point in the debate over climate…

San Francisco Fed Event Elevates Climate Change as a Central Bank Concern

By Michael S. Derby   11/07/19  
San Francisco Fed leader Mary Daly and Fed governor Lael Brainard will speak at Friday’s conference

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

By Chronicle Digital Team  Maps by Tod Trumbull   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…

EPA Carries out Trump Threat, Cites San Francisco for Water Pollution Linked to Homeless Crisis

10/04/19  
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cited San Francisco for violating the Clean Water Act by allowing used needles to spill into the ocean. The violation notice...

San Francisco proposes natural gas ban, following other Bay Area cities

09/25/19  
Natural gas appliances are a big target in the fight against global warming. Buildings, through heating and cooking, use almost a third of the natural gas consumed in the U.S....

San Francisco International Airport banning plastic bottle sales

08/04/19  
The San Francisco International Airport, one of the largest airports in the country, announced it will ban the sale of single-use plastic water bottles later this month....

San Francisco chef’s big win for climate change

07/17/19  
A San Francisco chef has become the first American to win the Basque Culinary World Prize - an award that honors contributions beyond the kitchen.

UNA-SF World Environment Day 2019: Robert Reed on Zero Waste San Francisco

06/10/19  
Robert Reed describes how Recology is partnering with local government and its citizens to bring about the vision of Zero Waste.

Democratic State AGs Rally Behind San Francisco, Oakland Climate Suits

03/21/19  
By Dana Drugmand A group of 10 states and the District of Columbia filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday in support of San Francisco and Oakland’s climate liability…

San Francisco’s Version of a Green New Deal Is Taking Over Its Power Company

By David R Baker  Photo by David Paul Morris/Bloomberg   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…

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…