San Francisco's Bay Area Growth May Change With Climate

<p>Officials forecast need to adapt development model: to retreat from some areas, build in others, and reduce reliance on cars.</p>
April 22, 2008, 6am PDT | Andy J. Wang
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"The worldwide issue of climate change has a local twist: It's altering the Bay Area's long-running debate over how and where to grow.

"Some officials are suggesting that some bayside areas may need to be abandoned in light of studies that indicate San Francisco Bay could rise several feet by 2100 because of sea level changes. Conversely, other areas along the bay could be developed so that new projects shield low-lying existing communities.

"At the same time, the call to reduce carbon emissions - a factor in global warming - is being used to argue for dense new development in the region's urban core, rather than on the outskirts of auto-reliant suburbs."

The Bay Conservation and Development Commission is calling on a "nuanced approach" to development -- evaluating other ideas rather than just putting a halt to growth -- pointing to wetlands as great for flood control and the need to protect extant communities.

Ken Kirkey, of the Association of Bay Area Governments: "This is a region that thinks of itself as a leader. If we want to be a leader in responding to climate change, we can't just buy Priuses. We need to talk about where and how we live."

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Published on Friday, April 18, 2008 in The San Francisco Chronicle
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