Blogging Bayport Alameda

December 17, 2015

Climate change from above

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

The other day someone posted in response to renderings of Block 11 at Alameda Point why more developers weren’t using solar or green technology as part of the development because of future environmental challenges. A good point, but one could make the argument that the density of the building at Alameda Point itself makes it more “green” than 200 single family units in Livermore.

On the subject of environmental challenges, the United Nations Conference on Climate Change has recently wrapped up with countries coming establishing a framework to tackle the issue of climate change. While that event was happening, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was co-hosting with the City of Paris a Climate Summit for Local Leaders. The idea is that cities and local leaders will be key to helping reduce the amount of carbon emission that contribute to the planet’s warming. From City Fix:

In the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, Michael R. Bloomberg launched the Compact of Mayors. This coalition has an impressive membership of 428 cities, representing 376 million people worldwide. The Compact is a coalition of mayors and city leaders who promise to cut down local GHG emissions, increase resilience to climate change, and to track their progress through transparent and standardized measures.

The strength of the Compact of Mayors is its ability to encourage cities to be more ambitious in reducing emissions and adapting to climate change. Still, there is a need for the Compact to offer its signatories technical support in order to attract more public and private finance for bolstering local action plans, ensuring members receive necessary support as they reach their target emissions.

At the Climate Summit for Local Leaders, Michael Bloomberg unveiled the collective potential for emissions reduction of all Compact cities to date through a report authored by World Resources Institute. Analysis shows that existing commitments made by cities (360, as of November 23, 2015) to the Compact of Mayors can cut the global urban GHG emissions by 50 percent by 2030. More specifically, the annual GHG emissions reduction potential was found to be 3.7 GtCO2e. This reduction can fill nearly 25 percent in the emissions gap for preventing global warming by another 2 degrees.

The challenge, however, still lies ahead—action will not be complete until more cities sign on to the Compact to reduce emissions and 100 percent of the member cities are fully compliant with the Compact. From the 400+ members, only 35 cities have achieved all the steps of the Compact.

A good first step for Alameda, if we are truly serious about reducing our emissions to address future environmental challenges would be to be a part of the Compact of  Mayors by first committing to be a part of the compact.  Right now smaller Bay Area cities like Palo Alto, Cupertino, San Rafael, Benicia, and yes, even Emeryville have signed up.  Of all the Bay Area cities only San Francisco is a fully compliant member by meeting all four phases:

  1.  Commitment
  2. Inventory
  3. Target
  4. Plan

If we are serious about climate change then we should urge a holistic approach as opposed to piecemeal expectations like “green” technology or solar panels.  A singular developer cannot be expected to take the lead on an issue when the responsibilities lies with our elected officials.



  1. I think this is great. Ironically, PG&E sent me an email telling me how to reduce our electrical usage before we consider installing solar panels. They know people are switching and the are trying to hold on to what they have.

    Comment by joelsf — December 17, 2015 @ 7:37 am

  2. Building energy-efficient structures is a great start, but meeting California’s relatively minimal building energy efficiency requirements is not nearly enough. Construction that exceeds California’s energy efficiency standards AND adds geothermal heat pumps, solar panels for electricity, passive and active solar heating (in a word, Platinum LEED certification plus) should really be our “new normal” and required for new developments or redevelopments/major remodels.

    Alameda and the shopping center management/owners missed huge opportunities when South Shore Center and Bridgeside Shopping Center were remodeled/redeveloped and Alameda Landing was designed/approved. Every developer in Alameda as well as our planners and officials need to up their game and step up to the plate with truly innovative, greener, and more sustainable designs and construction standards.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — December 18, 2015 @ 12:25 pm

  3. housing density may help mitigate affordability in the shorter run and the density is hoped to enable transit solutions which get us out of our cars. We have to change habits and inconvenience ourselves if we want to address climate, but all the development we have on the books is based on tide projections which may be exceeded sooner than later. I’m inclined to go along because it’s taken so long to get anything at all at the Point, but in terms of density mitigating climate we may be pissing into the wind in the long run.

    Another article in the same issue by Rebecca Solnit is about trekking western Nepal to administer medical care. She cites a Tibetan prophesy about “when the mountains wear black hats the world will end”. It is supposed that is a reference to the snow and ice being gone from the peaks. Just a little new years cheer. “We’ll always have Paris.”

    Comment by MI — December 23, 2015 @ 8:20 am

  4. Only Troglodytes still read New Yorker Magazine because only New Yorker Magazine writes about troglodytes.

    Comment by jack — December 31, 2015 @ 10:05 am

  5. At least a cave has a view…. how’s the view from the hole in the sand where you have your head Jack? Or is it just a posterior body cavity?

    Comment by MI — January 4, 2016 @ 8:23 am

  6. Only Troglodytes believes any prediction that comes from NASA.

    Comment by jack — January 4, 2016 @ 10:05 am

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