Orange skyline of San Francisco during extreme fires of 2020

Sustainability and Resilience

Our goal: Eliminate carbon emissions and create resilient, environmentally just communities.

SPUR’s Five-Year Priorities:

• Eliminate the use of fossil fuel in buildings.

Use nature-based solutions to make communities resilient to sea level rise.

Make sure that all people and ecosystems have the water they need to thrive. 

Make communities and infrastructure resilient to earthquakes.

 

Read our policy agenda

SPUR Report

Safety First: Improving Hazard Resilience in the Bay Area

The San Francisco Bay Area is both a treasured place and a hazardous environment where flooding, wildfires and earthquakes are common today. As a region exposed to multiple hazards, how can we manage for all of them at the same time?

SPUR Report

San Francisco Bay Shoreline Adaptation Atlas

The San Francisco Bay Shoreline Adaptation Atlas, a joint effort by SPUR and the San Francisco Estuary Institute, proposes a science-based framework for using nature to plan for climate adaptation in the Bay Area. It is the first research to come out of the SPUR Regional Strategy, an initiative to plan for the Bay Area of 2070.

SPUR Report

Fossil-Free Bay Area

California has the most ambitious climate policy framework in the world, and the San Francisco Bay Area has the resources, political temperament and innovative spirit to demonstrate how to eliminate fossil fuel use. This means ending our dependence on petroleum and natural gas and powering our buildings and transportation system with renewables like solar and wind. We can prototype ways to become fossil-free, modeling them for cities and urban regions around the world.

Ongoing Initiative

The Resilient City

We know that another major earthquake will strike San Francisco — we just don’t know when. Since 2008, SPUR has led a comprehensive effort to retrofit the buildings and infrastructure that sustain city life. Our Resilient City Initiative recommends steps the city should take before, during and after the next big quake.

SPUR Report

Future-Proof Water

Most of the Bay Area’s water is imported from outside the region. Today these supplies are regularly threatened by drought, earthquakes and other risks — all of which will intensify with future climate change. Meanwhile, our region of 7 million people will add 2 million more by 2040. Do we have the water we need as we grow?

Ongoing Initiative

Ocean Beach Master Plan

Ocean Beach, one of San Francisco’s most treasured landscapes, faces significant challenges. Since 2010, SPUR has led an extensive interagency and public process to develop the Ocean Beach Master Plan, a comprehensive vision to address sea level rise, protect infrastructure, restore coastal ecosystems and improve public access.

Updates and Events


Setting California’s Clean Appliance Timeline

White Paper
California has set out to be carbon-neutral by 2045. To help meet this goal, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District has proposed deadlines for ending the sale of gas furnaces, boilers and water heaters — but are they soon enough? SPUR’s research found that the proposed dates would transition roughly 90% of households to electric appliances by 2045. But to fully meet its climate goals, California will need to pair new sales standards with substantial incentives.

Lessons Learned From California’s COVID-19 Water Debt Relief Program

News /
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Legislature established the California Water and Wastewater Arrearage Payment Program to provide financial relief for unpaid water bills. But water affordability struggles won’t end with the pandemic. The state will need to build upon its first experiment with water bill assistance to weather ongoing climate change and income inequality. SPUR investigates the success of the $985 million program and looks at lessons learned.

How to Make California’s Budget Surplus a Good Deal for the Climate

News /
California is dangerously behind on cutting carbon emissions, but this year’s budget surplus can be a weapon in the fight to address climate change, with Governor Newsom announcing plans to spend $37 billion over the next six years on climate resilience. Here are SPUR’s suggestions for how to focus those resources on eliminating fossil fuels in buildings, securing safe and abundant water, ending car dependence, improving transit, building affordable housing where we need it and more.

Watershed Moments

White Paper
Climate scientists predict that California will experience longer, more frequent droughts as the climate warms. How can the Bay Area better manage the limited water it has? SPUR, Greenbelt Alliance and Pacific Institute teamed up to highlight six Northern California leaders who are pioneering more sustainable approaches to water use.

Comments on BAAQMD Proposed FY22-23 Budget and Amendments to Regulation 3, Fees

Policy Letter
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) is considering a zero-emission requirement for water heaters, furnaces, and boilers between 2027-2031. If this requirement is adopted, BAAQMD would need additional staff to support its implementation. This letter shows our support of a budget allocation for additional staff to accommodate this need.