Santa Monica aiming for carbon neutrality by 2050
By Sam Catanzaro
Earlier this month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that global atmospheric carbon reached 415 parts per million, surpassing levels not seen in recorded history. In light of this news, last night the Santa Monica City Council adopted a nearly billion-dollar Climate Action & Adaptation Plan (CAAP), a roadmap to achieving an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and reaching community-wide carbon neutrality by no later than 2050.
“This is a practical and ambitious plan to achieve water self-sufficiency by 2023, zero waste by 2030, and carbon-neutrality by 2050 or sooner,” said Mayor Gleam Davis. “Santa Monicans set the bar for local stewardship of our planet and I’m confident we will continue to do so with this plan to guide us.”
In addition, the CAAP includes plans for adapting to climate change and developing resilience to more frequent hot days, coastal smog conditions, and impacts from wildfire.
The plan, which staff estimates will cost over $800 million over the next decade, includes both major investments and simple things residents can do in their day-to-day lives to make a difference, advancing existing initiatives to enhance community wellbeing, smart city innovation, transportation, public health and social equity. In their past two past two biennial Capital Improvement Program budget cycles, City Council has already approved over $383 million in funding to support climate action and adaptation projects over the past two biennial Capital Improvement Program budget cycles
The Climate Action section of the plan is centered around three sectors: Zero Net Carbon Buildings, Zero Waste and Sustainable Mobility. The Climate Adaptation section focuses on community resilience to climate change through four sectors: Climate Ready Community, Water Self-Sufficiency, Coastal Flooding Preparedness and Low Carbon Food & Ecosystems
“Meeting the climate crisis head on reaches beyond protecting our coastal community and doing the right thing for the planet,” says Dean Kubani, the City of Santa Monica’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “The financial ramifications of doing nothing are catastrophic and credit rating agencies like Moody’s now factor climate resilience when rating a community. Our investments will protect our long-term financial health and ensure our historic AAA bond rating.”
According to the City, achieving the goals CAAP will require major shifts in Santa Monica’s economy, buildings and transportation structure. For example, transportation and buildings will increasingly shift away from fossil-fuel use and will powered by clean, renewable electricity.
“Within the past two years, we have seen increasing momentum and changes in the development of autonomous vehicles, ride-hailing, energy services, and waste management technologies. These advancements could speed up carbon reduction efforts,” said the City in a statement.
Staff will provide annual progress reports to Council and the community on plan implementation, conduct biannual greenhouse gas emission inventories, and prepare an update to the plan after five years.
For more information about the Climate Action & Adaption Plan, visit smgov.net/climate.