Climate Action and Adaptation Plan Available for Public Comment Through April 1, 2019
February 25, 2019
by Garrett T. Wong
Santa Monica released a draft of its Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) today, Monday, February 25, 2019 for public review and input, along with the Negative Declaration. Community members are encouraged to provide comments on the draft plan through Monday, April 1, 2019. The City is using an interactive platform that enables individuals to comment directly and view comments and suggestions made by others; the online draft includes supplemental information and links about existing City and regional programs and projects.
Staff will present the document to the Urban Forest Task Force and Task Force on the Environment for feedback and recommendations at public meetings on the dates and times listed below:
Urban Forest Task Force: 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 20 at the Main Library, 601 Santa Monica Blvd.
Task Force on the Environment: 7 p.m. Monday, April 15 at Virginia Avenue Park, 2200 Virginia Ave.
The City Council directed staff to develop a plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 or sooner. The CAAP is the first phase of that work and includes proposed policies and measures that would help reduce carbon emissions communitywide 80% below 1990 levels by 2030. By 2016 Santa Monica’s emissions had been reduced 20% below 1990 levels, which is a great start, but we have a long way to go.
Emissions reductions will come primarily in three Climate Action sectors: net zero carbon buildings, zero waste and sustainable mobility.
- Net Zero Carbon Buildings: In 2019, the Clean Power Alliance (CPA) began serving Santa Monica 100% Green Power to residents and businesses, potentially reducing current emissions by as much as 19%. In order to meet our aggressive goals, we must now focus on making our existing buildings more energy efficient and transitioning away from natural gas for space and water heating to electric-based systems powered by clean energy.
- Zero Waste: Landfilled waste generates a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions, so by keeping waste out of landfills through reuse, repair, recycling, and composting we can have a big impact on climate change as well. Santa Monica is working to become a zero waste community by 2030, and in the coming months residents and businesses will be seeing new programs, policies and opportunities to help meet the zero waste goal. Banning common disposable items like disposable plastic food service ware are one step Santa Monica has taken to promote more sustainable lifestyles.
- Sustainable Mobility: Traffic congestion, pollution and carbon emissions are all linked. By making it safer and more convenient to take trips by foot, bike or personal mobility device, we can reduce all three. Reducing emissions will also depend heavily on transitioning to electric vehicles by making it more convenient to charge through public and private infrastructure.
Climate Adaptation will also increase the City’s resilience and promote equity by reducing the disproportionate impact of climate change on vulnerable communities. The plan calls for:
- integrating climate change considerations into City planning, operations and infrastructure
- protecting vulnerable communities from impacts
- achieving communitywide water self-sufficiency by 2023
- protecting against coastal flooding from sea level rise
- increasing local food production and reducing food waste
The CAAP was developed over a three-year process. Staff and consultants developed forecasts of carbon emission scenarios and analyzed the carbon emission reduction and climate adaptation potential of proposed local policies and measures. Staff engaged a steering committee consisting of City staff, key community stakeholders and regional institutions. The steering committee provided guidance and feedback for the CAAP’s vision statement and proposed policies and measures. The project team also engaged the community through experiences such as the Community Climate Action Summit, Pier Sea Level Rise Viewers and ClimateFest.
By achieving the objectives of this plan, we will be joining a global movement of communities doing their part to address climate change. The next few years are critical to reducing our carbon emissions so we can avoid the worst climate change impacts. Achieving this aggressive goal will require involvement from all community members and a willingness to change behaviors. This plan is a call to action for our residents, businesses and government.
To learn more about what you can do to support the plan, reduce your carbon footprint and prepare for climate change, visit smgov.net/climate.