L.A.'s Green New Deal

In April 2019, Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti, unveiled the L.A. Green New Deal, a vision for building a sustainable future through protecting the environment, improving community resilience, expanding access to healthy food and open space, and promoting justice. The Green New Deal is the first four-year update to the “2015 pLAn” and evokes ambitious goals for combating climate change and purveying environmental equity. The report is structured around 13 chapters, which contain coordinating visions for L.A.’s sustainability transformation by 2050, benefits to Angelenos, top five areas of impact, paths to zero carbon, relevant UN Sustainable Development Goals, targets, milestones, and actionable initiatives to achieve progress. The Green New Deal is not only an environmental vision, but a pathway toward elevating and facilitating resilience within frontline communities facing the disproportionate effects of climate change through building an inclusive green economy.

Environmental Justice (Chapter 1): aims to secure a healthy environment in every neighborhood through ensuring that everyone experiences the benefits of a sustainable future. Actions/initiatives outlined in this chapter include programs that focus on: improving air and water quality; reducing the energy burden on low-income households; tackling food deserts; supplying economic opportunity in green jobs; building greater access to open space, and correcting environmental injustices. Chapter 1 intersects all other chapters, providing a framework for equity initiatives to be integrated across chapters. 

The L.A. Green New Deal is guided by key principles, one of which includes delivering environmental justice and facilitating equity within frontline communities through the creation of an inclusive economy guided by the communities themselves. The first chapter, “Environmental Justice,” underscores the importance of actions which work toward correcting enduring environmental injustices across the City. Equity initiatives throughout the plan are denoted by an symbol, and are all compiled under the “milestones & initiatives” section of Chapter 1. For example, some equity initiatives for improving access to community programs in low-income areas outlined by the plan include increasing food access opportunities in underserved areas and identifying opportunities for increasing edible gardens in City’s public housing to bolster food security.

Renewable Energy (Chapter 2):
is a roadmap for creating L.A.’s zero carbon future through investing in the transition to renewable energy.

Local Water (Chapter 3): outlines the way in which the City can adapt to extreme weather conditions through water conservation and implementing smart water policies, accelerating water supply and quality goals through recycling wastewater, capturing groundwater, cleaning stormwater, and reducing water per capita. The report also establishes the goal to source 70% of water locally by 2035. The authors of the plan document initiatives that will help create resilience and advance this goal, including projects that  expand the use of permeable pavement in large infrastructure projects, incorporate stormwater capture into six Complete Streets, and install hydration stations.

Clean & Healthy Buildings (Chapter 4): sets a path for L.A.’s buildings to operate on 100% clean power by 2050. To meet carbon neutrality goals, buildings will be designed, built, and rebuilt using passive energy principles, advanced efficiency measures, and on-site renewable energy, while audits and retrofits will create local job opportunities and encourage innovation.

Housing & Development (Chapter 5): identifies targets to expand affordable housing, end homelessness, and ensure access to transportation options for new housing developments. With the aim of ending street homelessness by 2038 and increasing new housing construction, the plan outlines how the Mayor’s “A Bridge Home” program will build over 1,500 beds across the city as well as 10,000 new permanent housing units. Furthermore, the plan will enforce the Rent Stabilization Ordinance and build 15,000 affordable housing units by 2021 to underpin plans for creating and preserving 50,000 income-restricted housing units by 2035.

Mobility & Public Transit (Chapter 6): encourages the development of sustainable transportation infrastructure through decreasing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution to foster good health and well-being. Some adaptation measures include reducing heat exposure, providing cool transit stops, and improved restroom access to increase the percentage of trips made by walking, biking, micro-mobility, or transit.

Zero Emission Vehicles (Chapter 7): facilitates the transition toward zero emission transportation and goods movement in order to improve air quality, achieve climate goals, and enhance the quality of life of Angelenos. For example, the City launched BlueLA, an all-electric EV carshare program to provide sustainable and equitable transportation for disadvantaged communities. The chapter also contains a milestone goal to introduce 155 new electric DASH buses into the fleet to expand affordable and convenient bussing services.

Industrial Emissions & Air Quality Monitoring (Chapter 8): examines various strategies for improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from industrial facilities through advancing air quality monitoring programs, developing a sunset strategy for oil and gas operation, and improving inspection protocols.

Waste & Resource Recovery (Chapter 9): outlines ambitious targets for becoming the largest city in America to achieve zero waste: achieving a 90% landfill diversion rate by 2025; reducing municipal solid waste generation per capita by a minimum of 15% by 2030; eliminating the entrance of organic waste into landfills by 2028; and increasing the proportion of recyclable and reusable waste products. Some strategies outlined by this chapter include launching citywide residential food scraps collection, initiating an educational awareness campaign on source reduction, as well as adopting policies that will reduce waste and protect the environment.

Overall, the Green New Deal consists of 13 chapters, 47 targets, 140 milestones, 445 initiatives, and 47 partner initiatives, and contains accelerated targets to ensure that Los Angeles becomes carbon neutral by 2050. The report also describes the new government bodies, established by the Mayor, that will work to ensure that these targets be met, including the Climate Emergency Commission (CEC), Office of Climate Emergency Mobilization Director (CEMD), and the Jobs Cabinet, an advisory body on job creation and just transition to the green economy, to facilitate environmental progress.

Publication Date: April 2019


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