Oakland Passes Landmark Energy and Climate Action Plan

“I want the city to have money to retrofit homes, save money on bills and create green jobs.” - Kristen Schwind, Bay Localize

“I want new construction close to public transit with affordable housing and renter protections. That way Oakland can promote development but still maintain Oakland’s economic and racial diversity.” - Dawn Phillips, Causa Justa :: Just Cause

“I want it to be easier to get fruits and veggies than chips and candy, everywhere in Oakland.” - Gopal Dayaneni, Movement Generation

These are just some of the voices heard at Tuesday’s Oakland City Council meeting. Last night, City Council passed Oakland’s first Energy and Climate Action Plan (ECAP) with some of the strongest green house gas reduction goals of any city in the country (36% below 2005 levels by 2020 and 85% below 2005 levels by 2050.)  The passing of the ECAP is the culmination of two years of advocacy and leadership on bold solutions to pollution and poverty by our Oakland Climate Action Coalition (OCAC).

Since 2009, the OCAC has brought dozens of unlikely organizations and thousands of Oakland residents together and into the city’s planning process. We’ve provided research, policy expertise and most importantly advocacy and organizing for the needs of our communities throughout Oakland.

Low-income people, people of color and the working class already struggle to pay high energy bills, have safe and stable housing, and access to healthy food. In order to address this reality, our Coalition has influenced the ECAP to achieve three things simultaneously:

  1. Reduce green house gas emissions
  2. Increase the capacity of communities to adapt to the effects of climate change
  3. Set us on the course for a robust sustainable economy with good green job opportunities.

The plan passed on Tuesday night, puts Oakland on the path to achieve all of these important goals. Our advocacy for some tough but important additions to the ECAP resulted in last minute wins. These amendments position the OCAC up to launch three city-wide campaigns as we work with Oakland to implement the ECAP:

  1. We will ensure the City of Oakland gains control of the public goods surcharge that we all pay on our energy bill. Following that step, we will advocate that the funds are used in a way that truly benefits the public good, for example, affording low-income resident free retrofits and weatherization for their homes.
  2. We will champion that Oakland secure a stable, local food supply through small and large scale urban agriculture projects.
  3. We will push Oakland to adopt measures that guarantee affordable housing, renter protections and housing rights as part of redevelopment projects. These provisions will ensure that low-income families can stay in their homes even as new construction is built near transit centers.

Through these three campaigns, Oakland will position itself as the proving ground for what is possible in cities across the country and improve our city’s health and wealth.

This victory at City Council means that Oakland is establishing itself as a leading city in the nation -- and the world -- when it comes to forwarding innovative solutions to the problems of pollution and poverty. These victories would not have been possible without the Oakland Climate Action Coalition.

As we move towards implementation, of course one question arises- how can we afford to pay for ECAP implementation? Well, one easy way to generate funds for these ground breaking efforts is by passing SB535. Take action now!