Santa Monica Lookout
Santa Monica Adopts Climate Action Plan
THE MAYORS CHALLENGE
By Jason Islas
March 4, 2013 -- In an effort to curb Santa Monica's greenhouse gas emissions, the City Council unanimously adopted a plan Tuesday that would eliminate 29,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2015.
That means Santa Monicans will have to take measures such as diverting 80 percent of waste from landfills, reducing daily car trips in the city by 13,000 miles and increase biking and walking by 15 percent, Parry said. Combined, those three measures would contribute to more than half of the target reduction, according to staff.
City officials are optimistic the City can achieve its targets with the proposed 15X15 Climate Action Plan, which Council member Gleam Davis called “do-able but aggressive.”
“This isn't just something the City is doing. This is something everybody in the city needs to do,” said Council member Gleam Davis. “The only way we're going to reduce vehicle miles traveled is if each and every one of us drives fewer miles.”
Council member Kevin McKeown pointed to the City's track record of working toward environmental sustainability.
“We've been at this a long time,” he said. “Now staff is asking us to double down.”
The plan lays out 15 measures the City can take to get Santa Monica's emission levels down to 15 percent below 1990 levels over the next two years.
Shannon Parry, principal environmental analyst with the City, told the Council that the 15 percent benchmark is very achievable, since Santa Monica is “currently 14 percent below 1990 levels.”
Between 2007 and 2012, Santa Monica has seen a seven percent reduction in emissions, she said, calling that “a significant accomplishment.”
In order to meet the goal set by the 15X15 Climate Action Plan, once growth is taken into account, Santa Monica will need to reduce its emissions by an additional three percent or 29,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.
Most of the measures required to meet the 2015 goal have already been budgeted for, with three exceptions: implementing the pedestrian action plan, increasing citywide solar capacity and installing solar thermal systems at fire stations and the municipal swimming pool.
The Council also voted to adopt some more long-term benchmarks. By 2030, Santa Monica should be 30 percent below 1990 levels and 80 percent below those levels by 2050.
“Generally, there's scientific agreement that global greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced 80 percent below 2000 levels by 2050,” Parry said.
But those long-term goals may prove more difficult to achieve.
“Achieving the next 15 percent will be reasonably do-able given the City's investment in transportation management and green building,” Parry said.
“When we start to get to the reductions beyond that, there are some pretty aggressive infrastructure investments and potentially significant costs associated with the measures that would be required,” Parry said.
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