Sustainability and Climate Commitment

Read Rick's climate action plan to ensure a secure water future, expand mobility options, and and transition to clean energy.

Los Angeles will experience triple the number of hot days per year by 2053, according to a new study from First Street Foundation. Los Angeles currently sees 7 days per year over 94 degrees, but this is expected to jump to 21 days of high heat, putting increasing pressure on our City’s infrastructure, and on Angelenos. We are expected to see more frequent wildfires, drier summers, and mega droughts. According the LA Region Report of California’s Climate Change Assessment (2018):

Extreme temperatures may rise as much as 5 degrees F by mid-century.

Some projections anticipate 8-10 feet of sea level rise by the end of the century.

Southern California is likely to experience an increase in both the number of wildfires and percentage of burned areas, as high as 75%

Climate change and exposure to severe heat is most likely to impact communities of color, compounding their exposure to air pollution and other environmental hazards. They are less likely to have access to air conditioning, and more likely to live in urban heat islands without tree coverage on their streets.

The City needs bold action immediately. Though significant progress has been made to address climate change, the future and viability of Los Angeles requires immediate short-term solutions addressing our present needs. At the same time, Citywide management of our resources will need to be increasingly sustainable, innovative, and equitable in order to sustain a promise of

viability for generations to come.

The City needs to stay committed to adopting the Climate Action Program while urgently expanding the development of infrastructure that minimizes dependency on any single source of energy. Los Angeles can continue to shine as a model for climate adaptivity, but we must reliably attract investment to support the jobs, development, and training needed to sustain a blue economy.

Rick has taken bold action to make LA sustainable before, and he will do it again.

Rick’s commitment to environmental action dates to the mid-1980’s when he was LADWP Board Commissioner. Rick directed the protection and restoration of Mono Lake, overseeing the launch of the “Green Power for a Green LA” program that advanced renewable energy, solar power, and emissions reductions. Rick recognized then that not all households have access to reduced-cost energy saving fixtures and products, and he was instrumental in the development of DWP’s “Bill Reduction Service” program. 

As demonstrated through action, Rick’s company has been an early proponent of green building standards, utilizing them in existing buildings and not just new construction. His strength and commitment to the environment is further demonstrated by:

  • Achieving LEED Gold certification in new development
  • Installing EV chargers in new and existing properties, supporting efforts to augment infrastructure access for the region’s growing electric fleet
  • Converting to LED lighting and incorporating photocell lighting to minimize energy consumption by automating property lighting to be responsive to natural sunlight
  • On-site water reclamation and reuse, and storm water runoff retention to support property landscaping as well as off-site park space irrigation
  • Experience with brownfield redevelopment, partnering with DTSC to undertake a multi-year, gold-plated remediation effort.

Sustainability and Climate Commitment 

To lead Los Angeles in its climate action program, Rick’s plan will:

  1. Ensure a Secure Water Future through a comprehensive initiative aimed at water conservation, stormwater capture, and water recycling.
  2. Expand Mobility Options. Support the City’s extensive and growing public transit system by investing in multi-modal infrastructure that facilitates and prioritizes pedestrian and bicycle safety and access.
  3. Transition to Clean Energy. Take advantage of federal and state funding to supplement and accelerate DWP’s renewable and clean energy programs.
  4. Strengthen the Blue Economy for maximum impact. Despite generating well over 200,000 jobs and contributing $34 billion into the economy, current leadership has failed to address our failing infrastructure, leading to record numbers of plastics and microplastics being found in our drains, beaches, and oceans.
  5. Strong leadership. The office of the Mayor will require a coordinated approach amongst departments and commissions to facilitate programs and policies that promote and implement clean energy and water conservation efforts, and identify solutions that enhance adaptability. This will include appointing strong leadership to various boards and commissions, such as the Public Works Commission, the Port of LA, Planning Commissions, Metro and SCAQMD.

Ensure a Secure Water Future1

As we are confronted with aggressive water conservation mandates, we must secure water availability through a diverse and robust program that diversifies our water supply, and more efficiently recycles greywater. The City cannot rely on any single water source to meet our needs. By diversifying our water sources we become adaptive and efficient, while ensuring our future needs.

  1. Require that City-owned properties, parks, landscaped medians and parkways convert to native species and other climate resilient plants
  2. Augment existing rebates that incentivize the conversion of existing lawns to native, drought-tolerant landscaping. Convert 15,000 new properties to lawn replacement and landscape in the next 5 years.
  3. Expand equitable access to LA Sanitation’s recycled water program through the deployment of regional access centers for communities in need. Provide water delivery to those that are transit-dependent, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
  4. Develop a multi-departmental strategy that aligns the City’s water recycling infrastructure together with other public works initiatives and private development. This will accelerate access and utilization of DWP’s Recycled Water Projects.
  5. Accelerate the establishment of greywater treatment and storage standards, and implement a phased program that incorporates greywater systems in new and existing buildings using tax incentives, rebate programs, and other tools in coordination with the State and Federal Government.
  6. Similar to solar-power credit incentives, develop a strategy for recycled water systems, allowing DWP customers to gain credits for providing excess recycled water to the Citywide supply.
  1. Establish programming and partnerships with neighborhood schools to raise awareness of water scarcity and inform new behaviors centered on consumption and conservation.
  2. Identify new technologies, leveraging the City’s rich scientific and educational institutions, to identify and develop a variety of energy-efficient tools that create self-sufficiency around water access.
  3. Climate change and water scarcity are inextricably linked, with water management policies and measures have direct influence on lowering greenhouse gas emissions, as identified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  As such, water conservation and renewable energy options must be developed to support wide-ranging initiatives, from bio-energy crops to hydropower and solar power plants.  

Expand Mobility Options and Create Green Streets & Neighborhoods2

Transportation is essential to meeting our daily needs and our streets must balance all modes of travel. As Metro builds on its world-class transit system, the City’s mobility initiatives should be focused on prioritizing pedestrian safety, providing secure infrastructure for bicyclists, supplementing regional transit with local DASH service, and augmenting other systems that enhance local connectivity. The future of Los Angeles should establish land use policies that minimize the need to travel long distances, providing access to jobs, housing, education, and healthcare within a reasonable distance to walking, bicycling, or using public transit.

  • Integrate community plan updates and other land use strategies with analyses that inform how people travel, access services, and use amenities to better direct local transit investment.
  • Partner with major employers to develop employee-led incentives to encourage utilization of public transit.
  • Accelerate the development of public transit access, such as conversion of the Orange Line to light rail.
  • Support Metro’s LIFE Program expansion and other reduced fare strategies.
  • Prioritize the safety of the City’s residents, employees, and visitors through significant and necessary public improvements. We will achieve our Vision Zero commitment to eliminate traffic deaths by 2035.
  • Roll out sidewalk expansion and enhancement projects to elevate quality of life outcomes, beginning with our most dangerous corridors and intersections.
  • Beyond CicLAvia. Support the expansion of community-centered green zones, such as those established in Barcelona. These zones do not ban vehicles, but instead designate a generous proportion of paved areas to pedestrians and bicycle lanes, develop more green spaces, and commit that no citizen should reside further than 200 meters from a public square or park.
  • Increase the tree canopy in communities with park deficits. Expand low tree canopy by at least 50 percent by 2030 through the prioritization of the City’s Urban Forestry programs.
  • Utilize the City’s Recycled Water supply to support the City’s street tree planting program with a regular watering schedule, guaranteeing the growth and viability of newly planted street trees.
  • Incentivize participation by property owners and renters through partnerships with private and non-profit partners, providing financial incentives to help maintain and safeguard new trees.
  • Develop strategies that convert the City’s network of underutilized alleys to green spaces.
  • Work closely with federal, state, and regional agencies to complete the LA River’s Ecological Restoration efforts.
  • Expand and create connections between local and regional open space areas including Baldwin Hills, Hollywood Hills, and Sepulveda Basin, Los Angeles River, and the Santa Monica and Santa Susana Mountains.

Support the Transition to Clean Energy3

LADWP, the nation’s largest municipal utility, is demonstrating what it takes to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions through recent investments in large-scale renewable generation, rooftop solar, and energy storage. We need to keep innovating by exploring further in-basin power generation to safely meet peak demand. Through green hydrogen or other emerging technologies, we can meet the increasing need for electricity in homes and vehicles. The future of Los Angeles relies on a diversified portfolio of strategic investments in grid upgrades and expansion.

  • Reactivate DWP’s Residential Solar Program. DWP is currently the only utility in the state without an active solar rooftop program. Leveraging federal resources to facilitate residential solar would be required to create a program. For a utility that draws nearly 50% of its energy from gas (27%) and coal (21%), nothing, including Covid, should prevent a more aggressive push to expand the City’s solar infrastructure and support households willing to do their part.
  • Use LA’s 100% Renewable Energy study to provide clean electricity Citywide, while aggressively pursuing local Distributed Energy Resource deployment. This facilitates local job creation alongside the development of large-scale wind, solar, energy storage, geothermal, and other carbon neutral systems and resources.
  • Prioritize clean energy investments and programming towards Latino and Black communities that have experienced the greatest exposure to poor air quality.
  • Implement zero-emissions commitments at the Port of Los Angeles, LA International Airport, and the Van Nuys Airport.
  • Require these port and airport hubs to develop a strategy committing to a predominantly local workforce. This reduces traffic, pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions while ensuring jobs access to local communities.
  • Develop priority employment of City jobs to residents within the City limits as a long-term commitment to sustainability. A local workforce is one of many levers that promote shared investment in all activities that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Integrate hydrogen, other carbon neutral energy sources, and storage into LADWP’s power system, supporting a diversified portfolio of clean energy systems that support self-sufficiency and adaptability.
    • Accelerate the installation of local solar through streamlined permitting for battery systems that provide backup power and strengthen the electrical grid.
    • Develop programs that support electrification of existing buildings by incentivizing heat pump, electric appliance, and EV charging installation and adopting electric rate structures which encourage home electrification and keep energy costs low.
  • Identify pathways to either decommission the in-basin power plants, add carbon capture and storage, and retrofit to clean and carbon-free fuels.
  • Enhance commitments that reduce air quality impacts from goods movement and enforce the City of LA’s ban on fossil fuel extraction.
  • Standardize buffers and other standards between industrial and residential developments through code revisions, planning initiatives, and project specific mitigations.
  • Grow green and clean tech businesses through incentive programs, permitting support, green purchasing programs, and collaboration with economic development and sustainable finance organizations.
  • Attract green technology companies and research institutions through tax incentives and other financial levers to promote direct access and benefit from emerging technologies.
  • Develop a sustainable green workforce through partnerships with Green Corps and other training programs, including Community Colleges that lead towards job placement and career advancements.
  • Expand utilization of the LA Clean Tech Incubator. LA has the potential to be the hub of clean tech innovations such as world-class battery technology, high capacity EV charging of the future, and cost-effective green homes.
  • Invest in the blue economy, expanding local job creation centered on the burgeoning sector of coastal food and energy production, kelp farming, and other scientific advancements.
  • Establish a City-led effort that promotes the adoption of environmentally friendly business practices and operations. Through the development of a green business certification in the City, we can encourage and train our economic partners – big and small – to help us meet our climate goals.
  • In turn, mandate that City Contractors and Vendors be certified as green and sustainable business partners through the City’s program.
  • Provide training to local businesses to develop awareness of their carbon footprint, learn to incorporate green strategies and upgrades, with priority given to small businesses located in our historically under-invested zip codes.
  • Develop a certification process that requires regular training and monitoring to ensure environmentally sound business practices are maintained and to ensure businesses in the City remain competitive and adaptive to emerging science and technology aimed at facilitating resilience.

Strengthen the Blue Economy for maximum impact.4

A 2020 report by the LAEDC estimates that the blue economy will double by 2030 with a projected global value of nearly $3 trillion. California’s ocean will provide more than 600,000 thousand jobs and contribute well over $140 billion to the state. Nearly a third of statewide blue jobs are located in LA County, where over $12 billion in labor income and $1.7 billion in local taxes are generated (2018).

  • The strength of any economy can be measured by the investment and training of its workforce. If we are to lead the City in the ocean economy, a productive and skilled workforce will attract further development and boost the economic output of this growing industry.
  • Augment and expand access to educational programs that support this industry at our existing world-class educational institutions, in the areas of construction and mechanical engineering, marine and environmental biology, and other maritime programs.

Develop state-of-the-art recycling facilities with a focus on plastics and promote significantly reduced plastic use.

  • Develop new incentives and programs that increase the level of plastic recycling and plastic waste capture to prevent plastic from entering our stormwater.
  • Increase awareness over the hazards of plastics and microplastics which end up in our food and water supply. Develop partnerships and leverage citywide public messaging campaigns with existing non-profit organizations and private sector partnerships to broaden outreach and implement public education campaigns.
  • Develop new incentives and programs that increase the level of plastic recycling and plastic waste capture to prevent plastic from entering our stormwater.
  • Increase awareness over the hazards of plastics and microplastics which end up in our food and water supply. Develop partnerships and leverage citywide public messaging campaigns with existing non-profit organizations and private sector partnerships to broaden outreach and implement public education campaigns.

Promote the use of sustainable modes of maritime transportation.

  • More than 90% of global goods are carried by cargo ships powered by heavy fuel oil (HFO), and marine transportation accounts for more than 90% of ocean economy employment, making it a critical area of the ocean economy warranting attention.
  • Many emerging sustainable fuels have been identified for marine transport use, and which would enable more than a 70% reduction in GHG, including those produced by sewage sludge, manure, and landfill gas.
  • HFO’s are responsible for high levels of sulfur oxide and other toxic air contaminants that overwhelmingly affect communities of color. Transition to sustainable marine fuels are not only naturally low in sulfur, but produce lower levels of air pollutants, including nitrogen oxides and particle pollution, serving as just one solution to improving air quality in port communities.
  • Renewable ocean energy is not dissimilar to wind energy, produced through naturally occurring waves, tides, currents, and even ocean temperature changes. An estimate by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory determined that ocean energy has the capacity to provide more than half of the country’s (2019) electrical needs, and the west coast had the potential to provide 65% of its own energy needs through wave and tidal energy alone.
  • LA should be developing the infrastructure, workforce, and attracting investment in these new energy sources by guaranteeing a reliable workforce, promoting our world class educational institutions, and cementing a foothold in sustainable innovation.
  • LA is rich in natural resources and wildlife, making it an optimal place to promote ecotourism. Advancements in sustainable fuels, development of systems to minimize plastic waste from entering our waterways and oceans, and advancements in clean and renewable energy would allow for more sustainable and eco-friendly methods of whale and dolphin watching, for example, and allow for low and no-impact lodging (“ecommodation”), and zero-emission travel.
  • The global ecotourism market is expected to reach $385 billion by 2028. LA alone set a record for tourism in 2019, drawing 50 million visitors with an economic impact of $36.6 billion in the region. As tourists seek to minimize their impact on the environment, LA needs to facilitate a greener commitment to accommodating and growing our tourist economy.
  • Partner with tourism and visitor boards, hotel associations, and other tourism leaders in promoting participation in ecotourism initiatives.
  • Highlight and award LA-based leaders in ecotourism.
  • Incorporate best-in-practice initiatives from around the world to enhance opportunity and promote innovation in the City.
  • Partner with the State to advance initiatives in low- and no-emissions building standards to support growing awareness and demand for low impact tourism.

Strong Leadership.5

More than ever, Los Angeles needs a mayor with resilience who has direct experience navigating regulatory oversight. In an area that requires participation from all sides, Rick has demonstrated an ability to support the institutional and private sector efforts that would elevate Los Angeles as a model of climate resilience and adaptation.

  1. Leverage, develop, and expand standing partnerships with non-profits, private sector organizations, and educational institutions. Rick’s leadership will create best-in-class strategies in the development of clean and sustainable programs and initiatives.
  2. Work with county, state, and federal partners, to expand the LA CleanTech Incubator, and create ties with other CleanTech programs across the US and abroad. Rick will share innovations and foster joint development and cross-collaboration.
  3. Draw from experience with DWP to advance the utility’s capacity to evolve and innmovate. DWP will aggressively pursue its commitment to source energy from clean and renewable sources by mid-century.
  4. Develop partnerships across research institutions, higher education, and job development programs. As a job creator, Rick will develop the infrastructure for a reliable workforce that encourages investment in LA as a climate resilient city and a reliable employment center.
  5. Support the great work of Operation Progress and other educational institutions that recognize the value of serving whole communities. Rick will prioritize partnerships with City’s network of colleges and universities to ensure job training and workforce development are accessible to communities otherwise overlooked. Together we will to grow in the new green and blue economies.

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