Sustainable Development

Our goal: Reduce our ecological footprint and prepare for climate change.


Blog Thursday, October 8, 2009

A climate conference in Oxford concluded last week that whatever we can do to slow carbon emissions, it won't be enough to stop accelerated sea level rise. In fact, a German scientist who's widely regarded as one of the world's foremost experts on sea level rise, said his best guess was 1 meter this century (a lowball figure compared to the latest projections for California), and 5 meters in 300 years.

Blog Thursday, October 1, 2009

Some of the first calculations of the benefits of green roofs are coming back and they're even better than expected: replacing typical roofing materials with plants across a city the size of Detroit would be the equivalent of removing the pollution of 10,000 SUVs in a year.

Blog Monday, September 28, 2009

This summer, somewhere in California, the state Energy Commission denied an application for a new urban natural gas-burning power plant, citing that urban solar (PV) might be a better alternative.  The CEC said that new "peakers" were not obviously the most cost-effective or environmentally preferable option to close that city's energy reliability gap.  For years, SPUR and a loose coalition of environmental advocates, led by the

Article Tuesday, September 1, 2009 Planning efforts to address the Delta’s complex ecosystem and water supply crisis may also greatly enhance the Delta’s open space values.
Blog Thursday, August 13, 2009

Transportation-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are the fastest growing source of emissions in the U.S., and are currently responsible for almost 30% of the nation's total GHG output.


Our priorities for Sustainable Development


Our water and wastewater systems are aging and in need of repair and reinvestment. Reliability of these lifelines is essential to the future of the City's environment and economy. We can rebuild them in a way that more sustainably manages resources than we have in the past.


San Francisco has many options to achieve greenhouse gas reductions from major emissions sources: energy, waste, land use and transportation. The City has set an aggressive target for reductions, and a cost-effective approach will help us reach it most efficiently.


The concept of waste is not a sustainable one. To the extent possible, we should maximize the use of resources and prevent them from becoming wastes. This means diverting waste from landfills, composting organics, and putting rainwater to use instead of letting it flow into the sewer system.


San Francisco now has some of the greenest codes for new construction in the country. To reduce our carbon footprint and meet our climate change goals, we need to retrofit existing buildings to conserve resources. Conveniently, energy efficiency--and renewable energy over the long term--is usually a cost-saving investment for building owners. People just need to know what to do and how to do it.

Sustainable Development Updates

To get regular updates on sustainable development activities contact SPUR Sustainable Development Policy Director Laura Tam at