ABOUT THIS COLLABORATIVE
The Bay Area Climate & Energy Resilience Project (BACERP) is a network of more than 300 public, private, and nonprofit stakeholders in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. BACERP is a project of the Bay Area Joint Policy Committee (four regional public agencies) and is funded by the Joint Policy Committee (JPC), the Kresge Foundation, and the San Francisco Foundation.
BACERP’s primary purpose is to support and enhance the climate adaptation efforts of the region’s 101 cities, nine counties, four regional agencies, hundreds of special districts, and other organizations. The collaborative is focused on specific actions that will help these Bay Area efforts to move forward in a more efficient and powerful manner. BACERP’s activities have included inventories of key climate projects, two assessments of needs (regional and county-level), special reports on equity, governance and other issues, and a series of workshops/webinars.
Currently, a group of Bay Area stakeholders are designing a new regional collaborative, the Alliance for Climate Resilience (ACR), that will build on the BACERP network. It is projected that ACR will be funded and operational in early 2015.
ABOUT THE REGION
The nine-county Bay Area is home to 7.1 million people. San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland are the largest cities, totaling about one-third of the total population. The region’s 101 cities and nine counties hold most government functions. Regional agencies are responsible for specific domains – e.g., regional transportation planning, SF Bay, air pollution – but there is no overall regional government. There are two major business associations and a number of similar groups at the sub-regional level. The region has long been home to a wide range of very active community-based and advocacy organizations.
All nine counties touch San Francisco Bay with four of those counties also holding significant outer coastline. Water supply – from the Sierra Nevada as well as local surface and groundwater – is governed by more than 10 water agencies. Most of the Bay Area is served by Pacific Gas & Electric, but new “community energy” entities are now in place in Marin and Sonoma counties to go with long-standing municipal utilities in Palo Alto, Alameda, Santa Clara, and San Francisco. The combination of the cool Pacific Ocean, local topography and the Central Valley to the east, produces a large number of micro-climates within the nine-county region, with a 30˚ high-temperature spread on many summer days.
PROMISING PRACTICES AND INNOVATIONS
The Bay Area is proud to be a part of California’s groundbreaking work on GHG reduction through AB 32, SB 375, the California Cap-and-Trade Program and other structures. More than 50 local jurisdictions have completed climate action plans for GHG reduction (a few newer plans have also included adaptation). Plan Bay Area, a set of strategies to reduce transportation/land use GHGs, was approved earlier this year. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is constructing a Regional Climate Protection Strategy to move the region towards the state’s GHG goal for 2050 – 80 percent below 1990 levels.
While the work on climate adaptation and resilience to-date is not similarly structured at the state or regional level, more than 60 distinct Bay Area adaptation projects are underway to assess sea level rise, extreme storms, water supply, heat and other climate impacts. The Bay Conservation and Development Commission has taken a strong lead role with its regional and local partners to develop strategies to address flooding from sea level rise, storm events, and king tides. BCDC, the Coastal Conservancy, and the Association of Bay Area Governments are designing the Resilience Shorelines Partnership to address both earthquake and climate impacts. Water agencies are conducting studies to address future reductions in the Sierra snowpack and changes in precipitation patterns. Health departments are reviewing the impacts of heat, energy/food prices, and vector-borne diseases on human populations – particularly highly vulnerable communities. Community based organizations have formed the Resilient Communities Initiative to engage local communities in building resilience.
The BACERP network has supported these efforts over the past 2+ years through activities that are documented on the JPC web site at http://www.abag.ca.gov/jointpolicy/projects.html#climate including:
- Needs assessments based on interviews with hundreds of climate stakeholders at the county and regional levels. These are summarized in two reports for the JPC and the Kresge Foundation.
- Special “roadmap” projects on Social Equity and Community Engagement, Win-Win Strategies (GHGs + Adaptation), Climate Governance, and Science Information Support.
- Two reports that inventory and describe the leading climate projects in the region.
- A series of regional workshops (serving 100+ participants each) for networking, education, and problem-solving.
- A series of webinars on climate governance, hazard mitigation planning, coastal planning tools, and other topics.
- The founding and launching of the Climate Readiness Institute – a Bay Area-focused collaboration of academics – UC Berkeley, Stanford, UC Davis, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory – with climate leaders from the government, nonprofit, and private sectors.
THE CHALLENGES AHEAD
- Moving adaptation and resilience planning from projects to a comprehensive and powerful regional program.
- Planning and decision-making for climate impacts like sea level rise that cross city and county boundaries and will involve a complex array of federal, state, regional and local entities.
- Financing both planning and implementation of climate strategies in a resource-constrained public sector.
- Effectively engaging community-based organizations to address the significant issues facing the Bay Area’s most vulnerable communities and populations.
- Creating a smart public-private approach to climate that makes the best use of the Bay Area’s world-class innovation resources.
- Developing a compelling narrative and communications program that will shift the region to action at the speed and scale required.