Climate Program Director
David Behar is Climate Program Director at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission with a focus on adaptation practice, science translation, and collaboration building. The SFPUC, a department of the City and County of San Francisco, delivers drinking water to 2.7 million Bay Area residents, generates hydroelectric power, and manages wastewater and stormwater facilities in San Francisco. Within the practitioner community, David has focused on building collaborative infrastructure to benchmark action across the new field of climate change adaptation, develop leading practices, and translate climate science for use in the planning environment. David co-founded the Water Utility Climate Alliance (WUCA) and served as first chair from 2007-11. In 2009, he introduced and defined the concept of “actionable science” at an invited keynote at one of the first federal conferences on the subject of adaptation; the term has been widely adopted in the U.S. and internationally to describe the needs of decision makers for science that informs planning. In 2013-14 he chaired San Francisco’s first Sea Level Rise Committee, which created “Guidance for Incorporating Sea Level Rise into Capital Planning,” adopted as City policy in 2014 and updated in 2015 and 2020. He currently co-chairs the Sea Level Rise Grand Challenge Committee of the World Climate Research Programme and chairs the Bay Area Climate Adaptation Network (BayCAN). During the Obama Administration, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell appointed him co-chair of the Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science, which recommended the U.S. Geological Survey prioritize the development of actionable science in aiding land and ecosystem managers respond to climate change.