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A special report on California’s cap-and-trade program, in collaboration with Earth Island Journal and Bay Nature magazine. It was made possible by the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

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New 7/16/13: Public Press podcast: Reporter Chantal Jolagh reports on Gov. Jerry Brown’s raid on cap-and-trade funds to balance state budget.

Climate Change

Power Switch: S.F. Builds Case for Pushing Out PG&E

Kevin Stark, San Francisco Public Press — Jun 18 2019 - 7:30am

As local regulators push for greater or total electricity independence, some daunting realities confront the dream of a San Francisco free of the nation’s largest electrical utility and some of the highest rates in the land.

Environmentalists Say They Were Shut Out of Talks on Building Housing Faster

Kevin Stark, San Francisco Public Press — Apr 1 2019 - 8:00am

Soon after becoming governor, Gavin Newsom unveiled a plan to speed housing construction — but at the expense of the landmark California Environmental Quality Act, which has acted as a check on development for 50 years. Newsom crafted his blueprint with input from builders and the largest construction union. Prominent environmental groups were excluded, however.

State Looking to Require Cities to Plan for Rising Seas

Kevin Stark, San Francisco Public Press — Mar 19 2018 - 8:00am

California officials are taking their first, tentative steps toward requiring cities to plan for severe sea level rise that scientists now say could conceivably elevate high tides by up to 22 feet by the middle of the next century. A state-funded study recommends that local planners adopt a risk-averse approach to permitting developments such as hospitals and housing in areas that have even little chance of flooding in the coming decades.

Public Press Weekly: The Golden State, Tarnished

Michele Anderson, San Francisco Public Press — Feb 17 2018 - 9:55am

Climate change and global warming are threatening the planet, and the culprits are many, as are the proposed solutions. And some cities are even taking the alleged polluters to court. 

Public Press Weekly: Assessing the Costs of Wildfires

Michele Anderson, San Francisco Public Press — Jan 8 2018 - 2:00pm

Last fall's wildfires in the North Bay and Southern California continue to take a toll in the form of difficulties in getting insurance, housing shortages and rent hikes. 

Critics See Environmental Threats in State Rule Changes That Speed Housing

Kevin Stark, San Francisco Public Press — Nov 8 2017 - 9:00am

Some environmental advocates say long-standing state rules governing soil pollution, traffic congestion and flood control will be weakened by legislation pushed by Democratic lawmakers from San Francisco and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown that will  “streamline” land-use regulations to speed housing construction.

California’s Push for Affordable Housing Could Weaken Environmental Law

Kevin Stark, San Francisco Public Press — Jul 25 2017 - 4:11pm

The Legislature’s efforts to ease the housing-affordability crisis could chip away at longstanding protections in the state’s landmark environmental law. Two such bills were introduced by San Francisco lawmakers.

Local Planners Brace for Faster Antarctic Ice Melt

Kevin Stark and Ellyn Beale, San Francisco Public Press — Apr 20 2017 - 8:00am

Across California, policymakers and urban planners at every level of government are struggling with how to respond to new computer models that show massive ice sheets in Antarctica on the brink of collapse.

Visionary Solutions to Bayfront Inundation

Mary Catherine O'Connor, SF Public Press — Apr 20 2017 - 8:00am

Responding to sea level rise requires actions that fall into three categories: fortify infrastructure, accommodate higher water and retreat from the shoreline. Given the economic and cultural ties Bay Area residents have to the water — retreat is a hard sell.

By Weakening Law, Developers Shift Sea Rise Burden to Cities

Kevin Stark, San Francisco Public Press — Apr 19 2017 - 8:27am

Two years ago, the California Supreme Court overturned decades of land-use law by upholding lower court rulings that cities could no longer require developers to take into account the effects of climate change on their projects. That decision has unsettled public officials and planners, and critics say it will allow real estate interests to saddle taxpayers with a gigantic bill to defend against rising seas.

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