Los Angeles, in preparation of expected population growth of 500,000 over the next 20 years, is developing ambitious strategies to address climate change and protect the environment.
Mayor Eric Garcetti’s “Sustainable City Plan” targets 14 areas to help the city become a national leader in solar power, electric vehicle infrastructure, water conservation and green jobs.
The plan is far-reaching, making a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, making zero emissions goods movement at the Port of Los Angeles, and reducing per capita vehicle miles traveled.
Garcetti said the plan would help “.. secure a future for L.A. that is environmentally healthy, economically prosperous and equitable in opportunity for us all.”
According to the plan, Los Angeles is striving to be a global leader in rooftop solar, which will allow it to use the sun to withstand possible disasters through the use of solar-powered, back-up energy storage systems. Los Angeles receives more than 250 days of sunshine per year and has enough rooftop space to hold 5,500 megawatts of solar power.
Los Angeles’ aging grid also must be modernized in preparation for the increase in electric vehicles being charged and to prepare for increased amounts of local solar energy, the plan said.
Los Angeles has entered into its fourth year of severe drought, made worse by the effects of climate change reducing the Sierra snowpack, a vital source of freshwater. As a result, capturing and cleaning stormwater helps to significantly reduce the city’s dependency on imported water, and keeps its rivers and beaches clean and supports wildlife.
The mayor has set a goal of funding the San Fernando Groundwater Basin cleanup and reducing per capita potable water use by 20 percent by 2017. In terms of tackling climate change issues, the city is reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the elimination of coal in its energy mix and prioritizing energy-efficiency.
By 2025, city officials say Los Angeles will eliminate its use of coal-fired electricity, one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. California’s largest city is on track to beat the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
Buildings are another source of greenhouse gas emissions, due to their being the city's largest consumers of electricity. The city has a goal of reducing energy use per square foot below its 2013 baseline by at least 14 percent by 2025 and 30 percent by 2035.
“By putting the city’s first-ever sustainability plan into action, Los Angeles will continue its leadership in cleaning up our air, protecting our strained water supplies, and acting on climate change,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said.