Plans to address climate change in Santa Monica will cost the city an estimated $800 million over the next 10 years.

City Council will consider adoption of their Climate Action & Adaptation plan on Tuesday designed to move the city toward carbon neutrality by 2050 or sooner.

Staff estimate the plan’s total cost will be about $800 million over the next decade including over $383 million in funding that has already been committed over the past two Biennial Capital Improvement Program Budget cycles to support projects for climate action and adaptation strategies.

Initial cost estimates will change as the proposed plans are put into action.

“Additionally, not all projects and programs have been fully conceived or are planned at the moment. Staff intend to submit applications during the next biennial operating budget process (post FY 2019-20) and the FY 2020-2022 Biennial Capital Improvement Program Budget as near-term projects and programs are developed. As policies and projects are fleshed out, funded and implemented, the City’s 10 Year Budget Forecast will be updated,” said the staff report.

Money to pay for the proposals  would require erage new funding from grants, rates, public-private financing and/or tax measures.

The plan’s action portion has eight objectives in three sectors (zero net carbon building, zero waste and sustainable mobility. The Adaptation portion has recommendations in four sections ( climate ready community, water self-sufficiency, coastal flooding preparedness and low carbon food & ecosystems).

Under each section, the plan lists goals such as achieving 100% renewable grid electricity, reducing fossil fuel use 20% in existing buildings, achieving zero waste to landfill, and converting 50% of local trips to foot, bike, scooter & skateboard.

In some cases, the goals are for additional rules such as a Sustainable Energy Master Plan, a Carbon Reduction Ordinance for Existing Buildings,  increased Construction and Demolition Debris Diversion Requirements or Parking Policies & Pricing changes.

The document includes some specific challenges, such as reducing the carbon footprint of the city vehicles.

“Police pursuit vehicles comprise over half of the City fleet’s annual gasoline usage,” said the report. “Currently there are no pursuit-rated electric vehicles that meet the Police Department’s operational needs. Some cities are piloting Teslas for patrol vehicles, however, outfitting the electric vehicle compared to a standard vehicle comes at a higher premium. The CAAP recommends continuing to evaluate low and no-emission vehicle options and piloting electric vehicles.”

The document acknowledges that even with a massively successful action program, the local climate will still undergo changes and the plan includes a discussion of the most pressing climate hazards that could negatively impact residents.

According to the staff report, the most pressing hazards are extreme heat, poor air quality, drought, wildfire and coastal flooding.

The report predicts days over 87°F will increase to nine by 2050 and 22 by 2100. Air quality will be impacted by additional pollution, particularly from wildfires. Those fires expected to increase in size by 64 – 77 percent.

“Sea level rise could increase by 5 – 12 inches by 2030 and by 11-23 inches by 2050,” said the report. “Increasing sea levels result from increased water volume from melting glaciers and increased water temperatures. Increased sea levels could increase flooding from coastal storms, king tides, and El Niño years. Increased sea levels could also reduce the width of Santa Monica’s beaches through erosion”

If approved, the plan would require establishing an interdepartmental team to coordinate efforts and provide regular updates and monitoring.

Council will meet on Tuesday, May 28 in City Hall, 1685 Main Street. Closed session begins at 5:30 p.m. Open session begins no earlier than 6:30 p.m.

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...

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1 Comment

  1. I honestly hope that this has been permanently put on hold due to all the so called COVID 19 layoffs at the City of Santa Monica, please look into this closely. Thanks

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