Santa Monica "15 x 15" Climate Action Plan Approved

Tuesday, 5 Mar 2013, 9:09:00 AM

Parimal M. Rohit

Greenhouse emissions in Santa Monica will be cut to 15 percent below 1990 levels by 2015. Within the next 35 years, those cuts will be as high as 80 percent, City Hall hopes.

The forecast cuts in greenhouse emissions were part of the “15 x 15” Climate Action Plan approved by City Council on Tuesday last week.

According to City staff: “The 15x15 Climate Action Plan is a short-term, action-oriented document that identifies 15 measures that, if completed by the end of 2015, would achieve the City’s greenhouse gas emission reduction goal. The 15 measures and associated actions are grouped in the following eight categories: Energy Use and Generation, Waste Reduction and Recycling, Transportation and Mobility, Water Conservation and Efficiency, Open Space and Land Use, Local Food and Agriculture, Municipal Operations, and Climate Mitigation and Adaptation.”

In between 2015 and 2050: reducing greenhouse emissions to 30 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

The City has already made progress toward the first milestone in 2015. According to City staff, an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions within Santa Monica “revealed that communitywide emissions had been reduced to 7 percent below 1990 levels. Between 2007 and 2012, communitywide emissions decreased another 7 percent, resulting in a total reduction of 14 percent below 1990 levels.”

Yet, because of projected population growth, getting to that 15 percent reduction by 2015 will not be easy despite the progress already made.

According to City staff, an additional 29,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide must be reduced across Santa Monica in order for the next milestone to be met. Yet with new developments - and people – coming into town between now and then, City staff anticipates “an overall increase in greenhouse gas emissions by 2015.”

Such an increase must be shed at an even higher pace – to the tune of 29,000 more metric tons than what the City is currently shedding.

According to City staff, a few policies and programs have either been developed or are currently in development to help reduce emissions, including the Bicycle Action Plan, Sustainable City Plan, and Urban Forest Master Plan, Water Self Sufficiency Plan, and Zero Waste Strategic Plan.

The City staff report to council members pointed out the 15X15 Climate Action Plan “was developed based on the results of Santa Monica’s 2007 sector-based greenhouse gas emissions inventory,” which includes electricity, natural gas, fuel oil (distillate and residual), propane, gasoline, diesel, and solid waste disposal.

Emissions and emissions reductions not included in Santa Monica’s inventory include Santa Monica Airport aviation fuel, byproducts of industrial processes, emissions from goods and food manufactured and produced elsewhere, sequestration by the existing urban forest, and offsets.

“The cities of Berkeley, Chicago, Seattle and Portland, as well as the State of California, have established the target to reduce emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050,” City staff reported.

“After the completion of the 15X15 Climate Action Plan, a new greenhouse gas emissions inventory will be performed and an updated Climate Action Plan will be developed in order to identify the measures and actions necessary to achieve the 2030 and 2050 targets,” City staff added.

Santa Monica hopes to meet its goals by becoming more energy efficient, reducing car trips (as outlined in the Land Use and Circulation Element), promoting water conservation, reducing waste, and ensuring sufficient open space and proper land use.

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