May 9, 2019 - From the May, 2019 issue

Mayor Eric Garcetti on LA's Green New Deal

In April, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti released LA’s Green New Deal, an update that accelerates many of the targets laid out in the city’s 2015 Sustainable City pLAn. Released shortly after LA County CSO Gary Gero unveiled LA’s first county-wide sustainability plan, OurCounty LA, both plans represent a concerted effort to equitably lead the region to a sustainable, decarbonized future. The following remarks, reprinted here, were included in the introduction to LA’s Green New Deal by Mayor Eric Garcetti. 


"Los Angeles will continue to set an example for the country to follow, and invest in a future Angelenos want their children to inherit — one that continues to provide opportunity and prosperity to its residents."—Eric Garcetti

Eric Garcetti: Los Angeles has always been a city of dreamers and doers — a place that embraces tomorrow with open arms, and sees each new challenge as a chance to secure a brighter future for our children. There is no doubt: defeating climate change will demand every ounce of Angelenos’ trademark energy, creativity, determination, and drive — and we have to act now.

The United Nations has warned us of the dangers of inaction or incrementalism. But we don’t need a report to confirm what’s right in front of us: the rising temperatures, the pollution we inhale, the flames on our hillsides, the floods on our streets. This crisis is real. This moment demands immediate solutions. This is the fight of our lives.

Our generational battle against climate change is a moral imperative, an environmental emergency, and an economic opportunity. True to form, Los Angeles is rising to the occasion with a plan that will lead the world toward a low-carbon, green-energy future.

Four years ago, I introduced LA’s first Sustainable City pLAn — a directive that put us on a path to save our environment, grow our economy, and ensure that Los Angeles remains a city of opportunity for all. Angelenos are already seeing the results. We became the number-one solar city in America, pioneered new transportation technologies, reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by 11% in a single year, and created more than 35,000 green jobs.

The pLAn set us on a course for a cleaner environment and a stronger economy. We have made huge strides in our work to curb climate change, meeting or exceeding 90 percent of our near-term goals on time or early.

But we have simultaneously seen the dramatic effects of a warming planet in our communities — from oppressive heat waves that endanger our health, to drought and wildfires that have swept across Southern California. It’s time to think bigger.

The scale of our ambitions must meet the magnitude of this crisis. So we are doubling down with LA’s Green New Deal and laying out more aggressive goals that will help transform Los Angeles into a carbon neutral city where all Angelenos thrive.

We will lead with bold action on every front, by recycling 100% of our wastewater and zeroing out our City’s main sources of harmful emissions: buildings, transportation, electricity, and trash. When we hit our targets, we will cut our emissions by an additional 30 percent above and beyond the path of our original pLAn — the equivalent of the annual emissions of New York, London, Tokyo, and Hong Kong combined.

Our Green New Deal is not just an environmental vision. It is designed to prioritize communities that bear the brunt of climate change first. I recently announced the establishment of a Jobs Cabinet to help train the next generation of workers in the trades of tomorrow — from installing solar panels and standing up energy-efficient homes to developing new energy technologies — so that Angelenos will be prepared to fill 400,000 good, green jobs that can’t be shipped overseas.

Decades from now, our Green New Deal will have launched careers that will bring pollution to new lows, and power our economy to new highs. But we can’t simply establish big-ticket policy objectives. We need to implement them. That’s why we established the Los Angeles Climate Emergency Commission, which will draw the best ideas from neighborhoods on the front lines of climate change, harness the expertise of scientists, and recommend long-term actions to reduce rising temperatures.

In Los Angeles, sustainability is a core value that guides all of our work, because our survival depends on it. As Mayor, it is my mandate to create a more livable city, but it is my calling to create a more livable world. Combating climate change meets both responsibilities. Los Angeles will continue to set an example for the country to follow, and invest in a future Angelenos want their children to inherit — one that continues to provide opportunity and prosperity to its residents.

With immediate and evolving challenges facing our environment and economy, a renewed commitment to action is needed now more than ever. We are facing a global climate emergency that must be solved with changes right here at home so that we leave behind a safe world for future generations. This is L.A.’s Green New Deal, an expanded vision for our pLAn—securing clean air and water and a stable climate, improving community resilience, expanding access to healthy food and open space, and promoting justice for all—and for the future we have to build on behalf of our children and grandchildren.

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 The plan incorporates the following key principles:

First, a commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement and to act urgently with a scientifically-driven strategy for achieving a zero carbon grid, zero carbon transportation, zero carbon buildings, zero waste, and zero wasted water.

Second, a responsibility to deliver environmental justice and equity through an inclusive economy, producing results at the community level, guided by communities themselves.

Third, a duty to ensure that every Angeleno has the ability to join the green economy, creating pipelines to good paying, green jobs and a just transition in a changing work environment.

 Fourth, a resolve to demonstrate the art of the possible and lead the way, walking the walk and using the City’s resources - our people and our budget - to drive change. LA’s Green New Deal will guide our city’s transition to an equitable and abundant economy powered by 100% renewable energy.

This plan will support the creation of hundreds of thousands of good, green jobs in all of our communities by: Building the country’s largest, cleanest, and most reliable urban electrical grid to power the next generation of green transportation and clean buildings. With $8 billion in upgrades to our grid by 2022, $860 million per year to expand the transportation system, and billions more to build clean buildings, we will put Los Angeles at the global center of investment, innovation, and job creation in the green mobility and clean building sectors;

Educating and training Angelenos to participate in the new green economy. We will work with partners at all levels of public and private education to foster the training and retraining necessary to move thousands of LA households into a thriving middle class built on good, green jobs; and

Enacting sustainable policies that prioritize economic opportunity. We will mandate and incentivize the transition to a zero carbon city in a way that prioritizes the needs and opportunities of disadvantaged communities, ensuring that the new green economy fulfi lls the promise of a more just and equitable economy.

As with the first Sustainable City pLAn, LA’s Green New Deal was prepared with extensive input from stakeholders, including community organizations, businesses, academia, labor groups, and City departments. We have made every effort to reflect the most current viewpoints, priorities, and needs of the Los Angeles community.

The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability also engaged with seven other global megacities—Boston, Durban, London, Melbourne, Mexico City, New York and Paris—in C40’s Deadline 2020 pilot program to develop and implement a framework for climate action that achieves L.A.’s pledge to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

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© 2019 The Planning Report | David Abel, Publisher, ABL, Inc.