S.F.’s Embarcadero could be devastated by earthquakes and rising seas, study warns
SFGate – September 19
The Embarcadero in San Francisco faces severe threats from both earthquakes that could undermine the city’s seawall and a rise in bay waters that could flood downtown streets and inundate BART and Muni tunnels, according to an exhaustive new study from the Port of San Francisco. A temblor on the scale of 1989’s Loma Prieta earthquake could dislodge the seawall beneath the Embarcadero and liquefy portions of the soil that it holds in place, says the 82-page report. The analysis follows a $425 million bond for seismic upgrades to the Embarcadero that voters approved in 2018. Its findings will be used to prepare a list of recommended projects to strengthen the most vulnerable areas along the seawall.
Santa Paula will allow housing in all commercial zones to address housing shortage
Ventura County Star – September 20
Developers who want to build housing in Santa Paula’s commercial corridors can now do so without a public hearing before the City Council or Planning Commission. The Santa Paula City Council unanimously approved a new ordinance last Wednesday that will allow all types of housing as a permitted use by-right in commercial zones, becoming the first Ventura County city to do so. Currently, residential projects in commercial zones require a conditional-use permit, a costly and often lengthy process that involves public hearings. Community leaders have discussed adding housing to the city’s downtown corridor since the 1990s. But state housing law pushed the city to take action this year.
Microsoft details its plan to become ‘water positive’ by 2030
Engadget – September 21
Earlier this year, Microsoft announced plans to become carbon negative by 2030. But the company isn’t just looking at emissions. This week, it unveiled a plan to be “water positive” by 2030. By that, Microsoft means it will replenish more water than it consumes. To replenish water sources, the plan includes actions like investing in wetland restoration and removing impervious surfaces like asphalt. Microsoft will focus on highly stressed water basins near its operations. Reducing water consumption is also a focus. At the company’s new Silicon Valley campus, 100% of the site’s non-potable water will come from onsite recycling sources like rainwater collection and waste treatment. That could save as much as 4.3 million gallons of potable water each year. At other campuses, Microsoft will use recycled water for landscaping, plumbing, and tower cooling.
Flying cars are on the ‘horizon of a reimagined tomorrow’ in L.A.
Smart Cities Dive – September 18
The World Economic Forum and the City of Los Angeles last week unveiled a roadmap of principles to support the launch of urban air mobility like electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft — known as “flying cars” — in cities. The “Principles of the Urban Sky” include prioritizing environmental sustainability; measuring and mitigating noise; increasing jobs on the ground and in the sky; and providing equitable access. The principles are intended to be used in Los Angeles and by other cities to “improve quality of life with safer, cleaner, quieter and more accessible transport.”
Global net zero emissions goal would require $1-2 trillion a year investment
Reuters – September 15
Achieving net zero emissions by mid-century would cost an estimated $1 trillion to $2 trillion per year of additional investments, amounting to around 1% to 1.5% of global gross domestic product, according to a new report by the Energy Transitions Commission (ETC). When this is achieved, the reduction in 2050 living standards in developed and developing countries would amount to less than 0.5% of global GDP, the report said. Since 2000, global warming has cost the United States and the European Union at least $4 trillion in lost output, according to research by Stanford University. The ETC is a global coalition of 40 energy producers, industrial companies, and financial institutions, which are committed to achieving a carbon-free economy by 2050.
Bay Area transportation officials propose telecommuting mandate to combat climate change
San Francisco Chronicle – September 24
In the face of protests from local officials and advocates of public transit, the San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Commission this Wednesday moved forward with a plan to keep many of the region’s workers at home — with climate change, not the coronavirus pandemic, as the rationale. The commission voted to include the controversial mandate that large Bay Area employers keep 60% of their workers home each workday as part of a 2050 planning strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and traffic congestion. The requirement is now part of the Plan Bay Area Blueprint for 2050, a regional transportation plan that is required under state and federal law and plays a role in allocating transportation funding.