Climate Change Status Report
January 15, 2008
1. ClimateLA: Implementation of the Green LA Climate Action Plan
2. Municipal GHG Emission Inventories
3. Public Participation Strategy
4. AB32 Scoping Plan
5. Local Government Operations Protocols
6. Climate Change & CEQA
1. ClimateLA Update. ClimateLA, the implementation program for the Green LA Climate Action Plan, was posted on the EnvironmentLA.org website in December 2008. This document describes the Action Items and Milestones identified in the GreenLA Plan that will help move the City closer to its goal of reducing GHG emissions to 35 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2030. ClimateLA primarily focuses on those measures within the control of City departments, such as changes to City operations and City programs. New measures may be added to the program as we expand our outreach activities and work more closely with businesses and residents. A separate Executive Summary is also posted and provides an overview of the implementation program and progress to date.
2. Municipal GHG Emission Inventories. ELA has submitted CO2 inventories for municipal operations (excluding LADWP, the Port of LA, and LA World Airports which are submitting their own inventories) to the California Climate Action Registry for the years 2004 through 2007. These inventories were compiled with assistance from several departments, and quality checked by our technical assistance consultants. ELA will be awarding a contract for Third Party Verification Services this month, with verification work expected to begin in late January 2009. Initial review shows a decrease in emissions between 2004 and 2007. Once verification has been completed, the emissions report will be posted on CCAR’s public website; we will also post the report at www.EnvironmentLA.org.
In February 2009, we will kick-off our efforts to compile the 2008 annual inventory. This inventory will be expanded to include all six “Kyoto” gases. Later in 2009, once community protocols are further developed, we hope to begin a comprehensive GHG inventory for the entire community of Los Angeles.
3. Public Involvement. In June 2008, the City’s Environmental Affairs Commission accepted a final report from Occidental College and the Green LA Coalition entitled “Engaging the Public in the Fight Against Global Warming: Public Participation Recommendations and a Climate Action Campaign for the City of Los Angeles. (and Appendices)” The report recommendations include a series of Mayoral summits with various sectors to inspire and spur climate action; a citywide climate campaign to bring awareness to the community; and a broad effort to invite public input on City climate policy. The EAC transmitted the report to the Mayor’s office with a list of short-term actions, many of which are underway, including: enhancing the EnvironmentLA.org website, developing outreach and education materials, and contributing to public meetings and events.
4. AB32 Scoping Plan. On Thursday, December 11, the California Air Resources Board adopted the Scoping Plan for AB32, the Global Warming Solutions Act. This plan contains the primary strategies California will use to comply with AB32, to reduce GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. An additional goal has been set by the Governor’s Office of 80% below 1990 levels by the year 2050. The Plan contains a range of strategies, including mandatory regulation on certain sources, new technologies for vehicles, more stringent energy efficiency programs, incentive programs, and a cap-and-trade program for selected sources. Local governments are expected to continue to reduce GHG emissions from operations through energy efficiency measures, the use of cleaner fuels and technologies, and through our land use planning authority. The final Scoping Plan confirms the development of Regional Transportation Targets for autos and light-duty trucks to be implemented through SB375 (Steinberg). See the following site for detailed AB32 Scoping Plan information: www.arb.ca.gov/cc/scopingplan/scopingplan.htm.
ELA coordinated a series of three comment letters on the proposed Scoping Plan and technical appendices. In addition, ELA has begun meeting with Planning and Transportation Department staff to coordinate on the development and implementation of these transportation targets. ELA will continue working with our City and other agency partners and provide updates as we move forward.
5. Local Government Operations Protocols. EAD staff participated in the development of a draft emissions inventory protocol for local governments with the California Climate Action Registry, ICLEI, and Air Resources Board this past spring. The City’s Bureau of Sanitation staff participated in discussions regarding waste and wastewater issues. This standardized protocol was adopted by the CCAR Board in August and ARB in September. The intent is to provide a consistent methodology for local governments across the country and in Canada to use when preparing GHG emission inventories. Please note that use of the protocol, and preparation of a municipal operations inventory by local governments, is voluntary. The Climate Registry, the nationwide registry, is now developing a local government protocol very similar to the one just adopted. This will go to public review in early 2009. EAD will continue to work with BOS and other interested departments to respond to the draft. The protocol is available at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/protocols/localgov/localgov.htm.
6. Climate Change and CEQA. There are many agencies addressing the issues of CEQA and climate change. As many of you know, SB97 requires the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) to prepare amendments to the state CEQA guidelines to incorporate assessments of global warming and climate change. The draft amendments are now available at http://opr.ca.gov/ceqa/. The state Attorney General’s office has taken a strong interest and position with respect to these analyses. OPR asked for some assistance from ARB in determining levels of significance for greenhouse gases. In response, ARB recently released two proposals – one addressing industrial and utility projects and the second addressing performance standards for residential and commercial projects. The City has submitted two comment letters which are posted on the ARM website. ARB’s concepts will be available for a formal public review in January, and presented to the ARB Board in February. The SCAQMD was the first large agency to undertake an examination of GHG emissions in CEQA reviews, and has sponsored a working group on this topic since early 2008. On December 5, 2008, the SCAMQD Governing Board adopted interim significance thresholds and an assessment methodology for industrial projects where the SCAQMD is lead agency. They will continue to consider expanded thresholds in the coming months.
A subgroup of the City’s Climate Change Working Group has been meeting to discuss these issues and how to incorporate climate change into our City CEQA processes. We have been participating in the OPR and SCAQMD working groups and have prepared staff comments on ARB’s thresholds proposals. We will continue to work together to assess the best methods and thresholds for use in the City, and will introduce a proposal for City Council review as that is developed.