Climate change, pollution, drought, and environmental disparities are issues that affect us all, both locally and globally.
That's why in 2017, the Mayor and members of the City Council reaffirmed Berkeley’s participation in the Paris Global Climate Agreement.
The goals of the international accords, signed by nearly 200 countries, are in line with Berkeley's Climate Action Plan (CAP), approved in 2009, that aims to achieve zero net energy consumption for all new and existing buildings by 2050. Other CAP goals include making public transit, walking and cycling the primary means of transportation, sending zero waste to landfills, and achieving net zero energy on all city buildings.
Berkeley has joined the East Bay Community Energy Authority, which, launched in summer 2018, gives residents an alternative to PG&E and the chance to get 100 percent of their energy from renewable sources. Equally important, EBCE will incentivize and promote local distributed energy generation so that our diverse communities can benefit from the rapid transition to renewables.
Reducing Carbon Emissions
One in ten Berkeley residents bike to work, the highest share of bike commuters of any city our size, and we're working to make biking even more accessible.
In June 2018, Berkeley launched a new bike sharing system featuring 38 stations around town, and over 400 bikes.
These bike stations connect to a larger network, creating easier ways to get to BART, AC Transit, and other key destinations in Oakland and Emeryville.
Mayor Arreguin is also involved in developing the East Bay Greenway Concept Plan, that would create a bicycle and pedestrian pathway from Oakland to Hayward under the elevated BART tracks, as well as the Berkeley Bicycle Plan.
Growing food locally is also a key component of reducing greenhouse gases, and Berkeley's Urban Agriculture Package, which the Mayor proposed while representing District 4, makes key updates to zoning laws to remove barriers to growing food in in the city.
In July 2019, Berkeley made history by becoming the first city to ban natural gas in new construction. Natural gas is attributed to 27% of Berkeley’s greenhouse gases, and this legislation will help meet our goals while inspiring other cities to follow our lead.
Zero Waste Goals
Berkeley's Zero Waste Commission is developing ways to reduce how much waste goes to landfills, with the goal of eventually eliminating or diverting it altogether.
As of July 1, 2014, all businesses are required to have recycling collection for basic recyclable materials, and restaurants and markets are required to have organics collection for food scraps, food soiled paper and plant debris.
Berkeley launched its groundbreaking curbside recycling program in 1973. Since 2013, the city has expanded its recycling program to accept all clean, rigid plastic containers. In fact, Berkeley leads the way nationally for its recycling efforts.
In 2019, the much acclaimed Single Use Foodware and Litter Reduction Ordinance was approved, helping businesses shift away from environmentally harmful single use disposable foodware and toward reusable foodware.
Zero Net Energy Building
Building with zero net energy goals means working to ensure that the total amount of energy used by a building is about the same as the amount of renewable energy created by the building, and it's key to meeting our sustainability goals.
In 2016, the city voted to move ahead with the study of the Berkeley Deep Green Building Initiative.
The initiative's goal is to incorporate practices such as ultra-efficient construction and deep energy retrofit projects that consume only as much energy as they produce from clean, renewable resources.
The Deep Green Building Initiative builds on the work of our Climate Action Plan and the Berkeley Energy Savings Ordinance (BESO), creating an incentive-based program to move Berkeley buildings towards zero net energy, ahead of the state.