The City of Oakland, represented by 5,000 employees serving more than 420,000 residents in one of America’s most diverse cities, strives to address historic inequities through the equitable reduction of GHG emissions, resilience-based climate adaptation, and the continued expansion of the green economy. One of the earliest adopters of sustainability, Oakland has maintained a climate program since 1998, creating and implementing some of the most creative and successful policies and plans anywhere in the world. Oakland has among the lowest per capita GHG emissions in the United States, and reduced both its core and consumption emissions 16% from 2005 to 2015. Yet these successes are only a fraction of what is needed to serve our community. Oakland has set a deep decarbonization goal of reducing GHG emissions 83% by 2050 and 56% by 2030, which will require our selected Fellows to assist in designing and implementing progressive and cutting edge programs that not only reduce emissions, but build employment pathways for underserved communities, create meaningful engagement opportunities for non-English speaking residents, and ensure that every Oaklander can experience the benefits of clean air and water, less flooding, and improved health outcomes. Fellows in Oakland will be expected to be passionate leaders in developing solutions to climate challenges, supportive teachers in educating the next generation of climate leaders, and intelligent team members in building collaborations that span not only internal departments, but also national and international climate agreements and efforts. In 2019-20, the City will hire two Sustainability Fellows, who will work individually and together, and with numerous City staff and outside partners and experts, to accomplish the projects below.
Capacity Building Activities
Deep Decarbonization Program Support – In 2018, Oakland became the first North American city to complete the CURB climate planning tool, analyzing the most cost effective and impactful climate programs to help Oakland reach its deep decarbonization goals. The Fellow will work with staff in the Environmental Services Division of Public Works, as well as the Department of Transportation, to incorporate the results of the CURB model into strategic and long-range planning of each department, as well as specific policy and program development. These efforts will be focused on transportation mode shifting, vehicle electrification, building energy electrification, and improving building envelope performance.
Energy and Climate Action Plan (ECAP) Development – Oakland initiated development of a new 10-year ECAP in late 2018. The Fellow will work to perform policy research, support equitable community engagement, develop supporting materials, conduct analysis, and coordinate between City staff and expert consultants in support of this Update. This work builds on the previous ECAP engagement process (2009-2012), in which more than 60 public meetings were held and dozens of community groups, under the guidance of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, crafted more than half of the final Action Items of the City’s first ECAP.
Public Education and Knowledge Sharing – The Fellow will assist in providing the Oakland community with powerful, actionable, and relevant information on climate science, policy, and focus. Oakland maintains relationships with education providers from the Oakland Unified School District, Y-PLAN, private schools, and adult education providers, and is regularly asked to speak to students of all ages to help spread the understanding of the role that greenhouse gas emissions and environmental equity play in the lives of people in the community. The Fellow will regularly provide leadership in Oakland through the sharing and teaching of tomorrow’s leaders, creating a pathway for the future of Oakland’s youth.
Equitable Community Engagement – The Fellow will support engagement activities both city-wide, and with historically-underserved and frontline communities, for a number of sustainability initiatives. During the 2019-20 program year, the City will author or launch creation of two critical plans that will carry out many of the goals of the new ECAP: an Urban Forest Master Plan and a Zero Emission Vehicle Action Plan. These efforts will entail community and stakeholder engagement. The Fellow will support staff in understanding specific needs of underserved and frontline communities, developing equitable engagement plans, and supporting the development of policies that will mitigate environmental burdens disproportionately borne by communities of color and other frontline communities.