Environment and Resilience

Bay Area decision makers face a critical challenge: to support continued inclusive economic growth while still maintaining and protecting the natural capital that has supported such a robust regional economy. Preserving open space, reducing sprawl, and housing future generatiions will require both new policies and tools as well as a renewed commitment to working together across interests and groups.



Harnessing the Private Sector

Without intervention, wildfires will continue to threaten homes, create economic costs, and jeopardize the health of the state’s residents. A variety of Federal, State and local programs, grants, and initiatives are advancing, however public-sector programs alone are unlikely to ever reach the scale necessary to completely mitigate the threat. It is therefore essential to co-develop programs and initiatives to leverage the resources within the private sector.

Sea Level Rise

Much of the detailed planning for how to address these challenges is taking place at the regional and local level. The state supports those efforts by encouraging regional-scale collaboration, supporting local planning and adaptation projects, providing data and analysis, and enhancing public awareness of sea level rise risks and impacts.7 Much of this occurs through the Ocean Protection Council (OPC), a high-level state government panel created in part to protect ocean health in the face of climate change. Based on evolving scientific knowledge, the OPC develops state-level approaches that respond to the anticipated impacts of storms, erosion and sea level rise on coastal communities.

The True Cost of Wildfires

Wildfires are now an annual concern for many of the state’s residents, particularly in and around the Bay Area. Households in fire-prone areas plan for defensible space and exit strategies in the case of a wildfire, and even those in urban areas prepare for the potential of smoke-laden skies and the health impacts they bring. Now, each wildfire season seems to bring weeks of deadly and dangerous air quality, along with destroyed businesses, homes, neighborhoods, and livelihoods.

Building a Climate-Smart Healthcare System for California

Climate change remains a serious threat to human health, and healthcare organizations in California, across the U.S., and globally can be catalysts in creating a climate-smart future.

Energy Storage

This report focuses on the emerging need for grid-scale storage, which must be prioritized but faces significant regulatory and market barriers. It presents an overview of projected energy storage needs, available technologies, market challenges, and regulatory policy developments, and it offers recommendations for how to accelerate investment in and deployment of new storage capacity. Accelerated progress toward meeting that goal will be essential to achieving a more flexible, balanced, low-carbon 21st century grid in California.

Bay Area Balance

Bay Area decision-makers face a critical challenge: to support continued inclusive economic growth while still maintaining a balance of open space that makes the Bay Area such a unique and beautiful region. This report provides a roadmap for those seeking to balance these goals.

Secondary Economic Impacts of a Reduced Bay Area Water Supply

The State Water Resources Control Board is responsible for setting flow objectives on rivers flowing into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to protect beneficial uses of water. The Board is considering new regulations aimed at improving fisheries on the San Joaquin River. This analysis of the Draft Substitute Environmental Document of the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan Update examines the potential impacts.

Another Inconvenient Truth

It has now been about a decade since California passed the Global Warming Solutions Act in 2006 and followed it with the supporting Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act in 2008. These landmark pieces of legislation, AB 32 and SB 375, set goals for the reduction of greenhouse gases statewide and for improving the ways in which we plan our communities. Yet California is falling short of its climate goals...

Surviving the Storm

Climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of such extreme weather events: 2014 was the record hottest year in state history, and according to tree-ring data, one of the driest in 500 years. At the same time, three of the wettest years in recorded California history have occurred since 1980. Along with sea level rise, extreme weather events are creating new risks to the world’s great coastal and delta regions, including the San Francisco- Silicon Valley-Oakland Bay Area. Against this backdrop, and with Hurricanes Sandy and Katrinastill in recent memory, what danger do extreme storms pose to the Bay Area economy today?