Cities, Climate Change

Image courtesy of City of Los Angeles

During the United Nations climate talks in Paris, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti attended the Climate Summit for Local Leaders, a gathering of more than 500 mayors and municipal representatives from 115 countries that celebrated the importance of city leadership in global climate protection efforts. In advance of this event, Mayor Garcetti, who also served as the local host for a US-China local climate leaders’ summit in September, announced the release of the Los Angeles Climate Action Report.

The report demonstrates the progress the city has made in reducing community greenhouse gas emissions since 1990 and its anticipated trajectory toward a low-carbon future. Between 1990 and 2013, Los Angeles community emissions decreased by approximately 20%. During the same period the city’s population increased by 10% and average personal incomes in the region increased by 18%, a strong indication that climate action and economic growth are not necessarily at odds.

The policies contained in Mayor Garcetti’s Sustainable City pLAn will result in additional reductions and put Los Angeles on the path toward achieving its target of reducing emissions to 45% below 1990 levels by 2025. Major initiatives within the plan include:

  • Additional low-carbon electricity improvements by eliminating coal-fired power plants
  • Increases in local solar energy generation through feed-in tariff, net-metering, and community solar polices
  • Reductions in energy consumption through building efficiency programs
  • Reductions in transportation emissions by promoting electric vehicles, reducing congestion though smarter traffic management, and further improvements to public transit, walking, and cycling infrastructure
  • Improvements to recycling and organic waste diversion that will reduce emissions from landfills
  • Reduced reliance on imported water by increasing conservation, storm water capture, and recycled water.

Mayor Garcetti’s leadership and strong support for climate action will help put the city on a trajectory toward achieving its long-term goals of reducing emissions to 60% below 1990 levels by 2035 and to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

AECOM helped the city prepare the Climate Action Report by conducting an update of LA’s 1990 baseline inventory and 2013 inventory using the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Inventories standards, developing emission forecasts, and reviewing emission reduction estimates related to the Sustainable City pLAn polices.

Culley Thomas is a senior strategic planner, climate and sustainability, with AECOM.

Originally published Dec 16, 2015

Author: Culley Thomas