We all want climate action and solutions, yet most Climate Action Plans (CAPs) are not bringing the results needed to counter the climate crisis. The City of Los Angeles is currently considering how to create an actionable CAP that would bring results, accountability, and deliver equitable climate solutions for the entire region. We must learn from other cities’ and counties' mistakes. Local governments are failing to plan for measurable climate mitigation, and are thus not taking coordinated action to reduce GHGs and climate pollution, create equitable thriving communities, or meet State pollution targets.
The form and functions of CAPs are evolving, incorporating an ever-broadening range of considerations, as local governments respond to changing climate conditions such as extreme heat, increasing costs, and lived experiences in frontline communities for implementation. Local climate planning efforts are an iterative process, with a need for frequent updates, dashboards, and measurable metrics that incorporate health, equity and climate data. This is why the City of Los Angeles also is developing a Climate Vulnerability Assessment (CVA) that is more granular than the County, thus more specific to our neighborhoods and climate risks.
The Second California Climate Action Planning (CCAP) Status Report provides the following insights:
As of January 1, 2023, there are a total of 253 Climate Action Plans for cities and counties in California (22 for counties, 231 for cities).
Of these plans, 61 (24%) predate the California Air Resources Board (CARB) 2013 Scoping Plan, and 123 (49%) pre-date the CARB 2017 Scoping Plan.
Only half of the plans explicitly mention equity or justice considerations.
These CAPs collectively cover 73% of California's population, and are more dense urban communities.
41 of these plans have set “Carbon neutral” goals to be achieved no later than 2045, while 9 cities have carbon neutral goals by 2030 or 2035.
The recent Orange County (OC) CAP Report Card from the Climate Action Campaign also states: “Many OC cities have chosen not to create CAPs, relying instead on a variety of other policies, general plans, non-binding sustainability plans or resolutions to partially address or create the appearance of addressing the climate crisis.” The City of LA will reflect, research, and identify best practices to ensure that we take a path that is effective and customized to a proactive approach for a dense urban area, while recognizing that there are several proprietary agencies that must create their own CAPs as well.