Climate Change Adaptation in Action
The City of Berkeley Builds Resilience by Addressing Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation in its Climate Action Plan
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In 2005, prior to California’s adoption of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (Assembly Bill 32), the City of Berkeley conducted a greenhouse gas (GHG emissions inventory to provide its residents with a snapshot of yearly outputs. This effort sparked a local climate protection campaign, and 81 percent of voters endorsed a 2006 ballot measure to reduce the City’s GHG emissions to 80 percent below year 2000 levels by 2050. Mayor Tom Bates, who embraced this call to action, initiated a planning process to address the city’s contribution to climate change and to improve its resilience to projected climate change impacts such as sea level rise and water shortages. Through a two-year collaborative planning effort, city staff and community members developed a Climate Action Plan that integrates adaptation and mitigation to work towards a comprehensive strategy for achieving climate resilience. Adaptation components of the plan provide a roadmap to prepare the City for the impacts of climate change and to leverage the resources and social capital of Berkeley’s community members.
- Prioritizing actions in the plan that provide co-benefits allowed efficient use of resources and more immediate implementation of adaptation and mitigation strategies.
- Collaboration and partnerships in the planning process led to broader support and implementation of strategies in across City departments and organizations.
- The City’s interactive climate change website helped create a transparent planning process and establish accountability for implementing policies in the Plan.
- Though development of the Plan required significant upfront investment, it allowed the City to allocate and identify additional resources to fund implementation and may lead to nearly $500 million in savings by 2020.