Dec. 3, 2007 

Mayors Form Partnership with UC and Berkeley Lab to Build Regional Green Economy

Mayors Bates, Dellums, Davis, and McLaughlin joined UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau and LBNL Director Chu to launch the ‘East Bay Green Corridor’ and build the region into a national center for environmental business, industry, and jobs.  

You can read the Statement of Principles here . 


Berkeley, CA -- The East Bay took a big step towards becoming one of the nation’s green economic engines with the announcement of the East Bay Green Corridor Partnership.  On Monday, the Mayors of Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, and Emeryville joined with the leaders of the University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to sign a Statement of Principles launching a cooperative effort to lead the world in environmental innovation, emerging green business and industry, green jobs, and renewable energy. 

At a press conference that took place at SunPower Corp.’s new Richmond facility, the four cities and the two research institutions pledged to work together to harness the human, intellectual, and economic resources of the region.  The East Bay Green Corridor Partnership Statement of Principles states:

“Our region has a long and distinguished history in environmental awareness, conservation success and policy innovation.  We have a remarkable labor force, extraordinary institutions of higher learning and research, and a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation that is known throughout the world… Despite our obvious strengths, increased regional cooperation will be essential to actualize our potential as a center of the emerging green economy.   Markets in labor, land and venture capital are larger than any single jurisdiction.  Each of our entities is committed to bringing our unique strengths to the table and building the heart of the East Bay into a dynamic “Green Corridor.”

Specifically, the six signatories on the Statement of Principles agreed to hold an annual green economic summit, set quarterly meetings of the directors of economic development, workforce development and technology transfer offices, and to coordinate a major new regional green job training and placement effort.  Other joint efforts will be developed.

Some information on each of the participating entities and statements prepared prior to the event:

Over the past several years, Berkeley has regularly been named among the greenest and most sustainable cities in the United States and it was recently ranked as one of the top five cities best situated to lead the “Clean Tech” economy.  Last year, Berkeley voters passed Measure G, a first in the nation ballot measure directing the City to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by the year 2050.   “Berkeley is known as one of the world’s most innovative and creative places, but our economic success is tied directly to the success of our neighbors and our region,” said Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates.  “It is vitally important that we keep the innovative ideas, companies, and jobs here in our area.”

Oakland was the first city in the nation to initiate a plan to get to oil independence by 2020 and also the first city in the nation to pass laws replacing plastic and Styrofoam materials in restaurants with compostable materials. In 2007, Oakland allocated $200,000 for green jobs development and training.  “This nature of collaboration is crucial to sustain our collective effort to remain a regional leader in the emerging green industry. Uniting these four cities behind this goal will do a great deal to coordinate our business, government and community resources,” said Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums. 

“We share a vision of a green economy that provides jobs for all our people, revenue for our cities, and serves as environmental center for the nation.  We are much better able to make our shared vision a reality if we work together,” said Emeryville Mayor Nora Davis. Over the past two decades, Emeryville has emerged as a center for entertainment, retail, technology, and bio-tech companies.  It has one of the fastest growing commercial and housing markets in the Bay Area.

“A green economy which focuses on the triple bottom line of economics, environment and social equity is the greatest opportunity of the twenty-first century to improve the lives of all people. Given the crises the world faces from resource depletion, poverty and species extinction -- a green economy is also the only way to reinvigorate our economy while at the same time addressing environmental destruction and social inequity. Cities generate 75% of the carbon emissions. Cities like ours are where the problem must be solved,” said Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin

Richmond’s abundance of industrial land, port and rail capacities have attracted green businesses and led it to focus on becoming the first Green Industrial City in the US: adopting a goal of 80% reduction city-wide greenhouse gas emissions, establishing solar installation training in its youth jobs training programs and lowering its solar permit fees to the lowest in the Bay Area.

The University of California, Berkeley is one of the world’s premier education and research institutions.  The University has embraced sustainability as a core area of research across departments and as a focus of campus operations.  In April, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau committed the campus to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2014.

“As a public university, UC Berkeley is committed to contributing our academic resources and developing research approaches that impact the most pressing problems globally and locally. Our newly formed Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) will bring some of the best minds in the world together to focus on global energy production and alternative energy sources.  EBI will position UC Berkeley on a trailblazing track to make the East Bay a world center for energy and environmental research,” said Chancellor Robert Birgeneau.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has been a leader in science and engineering research for more than 75 years.  It is one of the preeminent laboratories working on energy efficiency, alternative energy, and climate research.

SunPower CEO Tom Werner and Ilan Gur of the Berkeley-based start-up Seeo, Inc. also spoke about the tremendous opportunities for green economic growth and the benefits of locating and expanding their businesses in this area.  Assemblywoman Loni Hancock also spoke and served as emcee of the event.


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