President Trump recently announced his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord. This historic agreement, reached by 195 countries in 2015, sets targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and limiting the rise in average global temperatures.
By withdrawing, the U.S. is taking a serious step back from leadership on containing climate change and preserving a healthy planet for future generations.
Fortunately, there’s a lot that can be done at state and local levels to protect the environment. San Francisco Baykeeper is a leader in protecting San Francisco Bay from climate change. Despite the President’s harmful decision, we’ll continue our effective local work to defend San Francisco Bay.
Plus, California has already emerged as a leader in action to reduce emissions of the gases that cause climate change. Baykeeper will continue to support the state’s efforts to prepare California’s waterways and water supplies for climate change.
Climate change causes sea level rise, which is a major threat to San Francisco Bay and its shorelines. Rising sea levels will lead to flooding, and, once water levels reach pollution sources, increased contamination of the Bay’s waters.
Baykeeper is defending San Francisco Bay from climate change by:
- Making the Bay Area more climate resilient: With climate change, the Bay Area can expect greater variability in rainfall, with extreme fluctuations between drought and heavy storms. Baykeeper is working with Bay Area cities and advocating at the state level to ensure smart water use—like more green infrastructure, greater use of recycled water, and increased water efficiency.
- Restoring natural buffers from sea level rise: Baykeeper helped craft a bill under consideration in the California legislature, AB 388, that would repurpose dredged mud for wetland restoration. Wetlands are natural buffers against storm surges, floods, and sea level rise, and wetlands provide habitat for native California wildlife. We are also challenging excessive Bay sand mining to keep beaches from eroding.
- Stopping fossil fuel expansions that increase greenhouse gas emissions: Baykeeper has successfully stopped proposals to expand dirty oil and coal in the Bay Area. In addition to potentially contaminating the Bay and Bay Area communities, these fossil fuel expansions would increase the use of carbon-heavy fuel just when California and the U.S. need to transition to more green energy sources.
- Identifying threatened Bay shorelines: Using Google Trekker cameras and a remote-controlled boat, Baykeeper mapped the Bay shoreline to help identify the biggest threats from sea level rise. Once complete, the imagery and interactive maps will be available to the public, allowing everyone from city planners to community organizers to see where Bay shorelines are most vulnerable to sea level rise.
- Taking a stand for healthy water worldwide: Baykeeper is a member of a global coalition, the Waterkeeper Alliance. Together with more than 300 Waterkeepers worldwide, we’re fighting at all levels against new policies that will roll back climate change planning.
The threats posed by global climate change, and the harms caused by the U.S. declining to work with other nations to avert those threats, are significant. However, there are many ways the Bay Area can become more resilient to sea level rise, plan for climate variability, and reduce our cities’ carbon footprint. With your help, Baykeeper is working to prepare the Bay for a new climate reality.