Los Angeles targets a zero-carbon future by 2050


Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has introduced the city’s own version of the Green New Deal, and with it, the goals of a zero carbon grid, zero carbon buildings, zero carbon transportation, zero wasted water and zero waste by 2050.

The mayor’s 150-page plan takes into account the environmental crises the city has faced in recent years, and states that “the scale of our ambitions must meet the magnitude of this crisis.”

“Politicians in Washington don’t have to look across the aisle in Congress to know what a Green New Deal is — they can look across the country, to Los Angeles,” said the mayor in a news release. “With flames on our hillsides and floods in our streets, cities cannot wait another moment to confront the climate crisis with everything we’ve got. L.A. is leading the charge, with a clear vision for protecting the environment and making our economy work for everyone.”

Los Angeles’ Green New Deal takes its lead from the Sustainable City Plan which was introduced in 2015, but its goals are much loftier, with the plan to eliminate carbon emissions generated by transportation and buildings, and 100% recycling of the city’s wastewater – tough goals indeed for one of the world’s most smog-polluted cities. The plan also has a strong focus on mobility, public transport and zero-emissions vehicles.

L.A.’s Green New Deal includes plans to:

  • Increase the number of electric vehicles in the city to 25% by 2025; 80% by 2035; and 100% 2050
  • To convert all city fleet vehicles to zero emission by  2028, where technically feasible
  • Install 400 EV chargers at public buildings, parks and libraries
  • Install 500 additional streetlight EV chargers.
  • Ensure that by 2021, 100% of the city’s municipal light-duty vehicle purchases are electric
  • Ensure that 100% of medium duty waste removal and recycling trucks are zero emission by 2028
  • Issue and distribute 1,000 used electric vehicle (EV) rebates, 11,500 Level 2 EV charger rebates, and 75 DC fast charger rebates
  • Install 10,000 publicly-accessible EV chargers by 2022, and 28,000 by 2028
  • Build 20 Fast Charging Plazas throughout the city metropole
  • Electrify 10% of taxi fleet by 2022; and 100% by 2028
  • Target 100% Zero Emission school buses in the Los Angeles school district by 2028
  • Ensure that 100% of urban delivery vehicles are zero emission by 2034
  • Convert 100% of Metro and LADOT bus fleets to electric by 2030.

Exact funding details aren’t given in the plan, but the city has already partnered with community and private organisations such as the Liberty Hill Foundation, which may offer rebates on the purchase of new or used electric vehicles of up to $14,000 to individuals or families. They are working with URB-E to make “last-mile” deliveries emission-free by replacing petrol-powered delivery vehicles with foldable electric scooters.

The role of public transport is also front-and-centre in the plan and the city intends to introduce new routes and expanded services that are hoped will help increase public use. 112 electric buses will be added to the city’s DASH fleet to improve connecting routes to regional bus and train services.

Private transport is also expected to play a role, with a congestion pricing pilot programme set for 2025 in an effort to minimise the use of conventionally-powered, polluting vehicles. Mayor Garcetti has also announced the formation of a Jobs Cabinet that will help fill the estimated 400,000 positions expected to be created in the transition to renewable energy by 2050. These will include the construction of energy-efficient housing and  the installation of solar infrastructure, with the anticipated growth in the e-mobility sector expected to create or support approximately 1,500 jobs by 2025.

Are you an LA-native, or interested in how one of the world’s true mega-cities is tackling the transition to sustainability? So are local business leaders who recently called for the accelerated adoption of rooftop solar, the the retirement of three more fossil-fuel generation plants. Here’s the story.