Santa Monica has exceeded its emission reduction goals but officials are already planning for the next wave of climate protection measures.
Council accepted the final report for the 15×15 Climate Action Plan last week. The document said Santa Monica reduced its emission of greenhouse to 80 percent of 1990 levels, exceeding its goal by 5 percent.
“The bottom line is that since 1990 Santa Monica has experience both population and economic growth while reducing its impact on the environment,” said Garrett Wong, the City’s Sustainability Analyst
According to the staff report, a significant factor in the reduction is the transition to cleaner energy sources and a general reduction in the use of resources.
The city’s largest source of emissions, traffic, saw a small reduction despite a slight increase in the total number of miles traveled. Staff said more fuel efficient vehicles and alternative fuel vehicles helped with the emissions reductions in the past but future reductions will likely be a result of behavior changes towards other mobility options.
“Santa Monicans tend to be early adopters when it comes to things that help the environment, like transitioning to cleaner technologies, and this helped us exceed our aggressive climate goals,” said Dean Kubani, the City of Santa Monica’s Chief Sustainability Officer in a statement. “The fact that we were able to do this while growing a vibrant local economy and maintaining a high quality of life for residents, visitors and businesses shows that we are definitely on the right track. What’s not to like about that?”
Councilman Terry O’Day asked what has worked in other cities to reduce vehicle impacts. Staff said some cities have models that are difficult for Santa Monica to replicate because their planning efforts began decades ago with a radically different approach to traffic.
However, Councilman Terry O’Day said Santa Monica can still implement those kinds of largescale changes.
“We can still take back our streets from cars and give them to people and create ways to incentivize cleaner mobility,” he said.
Council members acknowledged the impressive feat but quickly transitioned to future plans.
Councilman Kevin McKeown said the efforts so far are noteworthy but are not enough given the plight of the environment.
“We’ve gone too far in what we’ve done to the climate of the planet,” he said. “We need to do more and we need to do it in ways that other communities, other regions and other countries can emulate and replicate so I’d urge this council tonight to commit the finances, commit the resources to come up with plans that will not just make this city proud but will make this planet livable.”
Council directed staff to pursue new sustainability projects including a new Climate Action & Adaptation Plan that will aim for carbon neutrality by 2050. The new plan also creates plans for adapting to climate change and specifically addresses sea level rise.
City Hall is actively soliciting public input for the next Climate Action & Adaptation Plan including a day long event on Saturday, Oct. 29 at St. Monica’s Grand Pavilion (725 California Ave.)
“The Summit is a unique opportunity to provide meaningful input, work across sectors, foster collaboration, learn about recent innovations and envision the future of a carbon neutral Santa Monica,” said the city’s description of the event. “We want this plan to work, and we want it to work for you; your input will ensure that it is responsive to your needs and supports your ability to live a low-carbon lifestyle.”
The draft agenda for the day is:
11 a.m. Registration, networking, exhibitor tables, passive activities
11:30 a.m. Welcome, Introduction
12 p.m. Session I: Achieving Clean Energy for All
1 p.m. Lunch Break
1:45 p.m. Session II: Decarbonizing the Transportation System
2:45 p.m. Networking Break
3 p.m. Session III: Resilient communities and low-carbon living
4 p.m. Pecha Kucha Slam (dynamic crowd-sourced talks)
5 p.m. Social Hour, networking, exhibitor tables
7 p.m. Program End
To register for the day, visit https://communityclimateactionsummit.eventbrite.com
BY MATTHEW HALL