Thursday, July 19, 2007

San Francisco Bay commission to weigh first climate-change plan

San Jose Mercury News: When climate change hits the Bay Area with maximum impact, it will be in the form of rising sea waters, heavier storm activity, higher temperatures and more air pollution, scientists say.

Will Travis, executive director of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, and his fellow staff members have drafted a "climate change action plan" to help their agency prepare for it. The plan, which the agency is expected to approve following a public hearing today, will bring climate change considerations to the forefront of the agency's approval process.

…The impetus for a climate change plan, one of the first such plans adopted by a public agency in California, came from a shocking bay inundation map that agency staff prepared in January using global warming projections of sea level rise provided by the California Climate Change Action Team. If the bay water level were to rise by one meter, or 3.3 feet, by the year 2100, more than 200 square miles of land around the bay could be flooded, with potential damages in the neighborhood of $100 billion, according to the agency.…

"It is a huge issue facing us because there has been about 240 square miles around San Francisco Bay that have been filled since 1849 - filled just enough to get them above sea level," Travis said. "It could be that water will inundate much of this land. Silicon Valley, SFO, Oakland International Airport and many other low-lying areas around the bay."

As part of its plan, the agency has resolved to ask developers to address the climate change-related impacts of their projects before approving them…

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