As Washington DC waffles on developing a Green New Deal—or works to torpedo it altogether—LA's environmentalist mayor, Eric Garcetti, signed off on a local Green New Deal for the city on Monday.
“Politicians don’t need to look across the aisle to find the answers—they need to look across the country,” he said, in announcing the plan.
LA's plan calls for building out public transportation networks, including bike and scooter sharing to get Angelinos out of their cars; for making all homes and offices "emissions free;" stopping the flow of waste to landfills by 2050; and for using nothing but renewable energy in the city by 2045.
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Noting that the average LA resident drives 15 miles per day, the plan calls to reduce that to less than 10 miles per day by 2025, and 7.5 miles by 2025, primarily by increasing the use of public transportation, ride sharing, bikes, and scooters. It also targets new housing developments around transit stations and aims to make all these reductions in the face of population growth.
For the remaining trips, the plan calls to increase the percentage of electric cars in the city to 25 percent by 2025, 80 percent by 2035, and to eliminate all non-electric vehicles from city streets and highways by 2050.
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The new deal is, in fact, partly an old deal. The city has already committed to installing 10,000 public chargers around the city by 2028, as well as to converting all city buses to run on electricity by 2030, and to reducing emissions from the Port of Los Angeles by 80 percent, using electric and hydrogen fuel-cell trucks, by 2050—all included in the new green deal.
Going beyond transportation and energy, the plan calls for all wastewater to be recycled and for the city to rely 100 percent on local water sources. (Currently, it imports as much as 85 percent of its water from Northern California and from the Colorado River.)
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To get there will require some serious redevelopment along the way. The plan calls for fresh food to be accessible within a half mile of all low-income Angelinos, planting trees, and developing 32 miles of new trails and bike paths along the LA River.
As the birthplace of anti-pollution regulation in the US, the city can make a great test-bed for such Green New Deal proposals. Getting other cities that have less temperate weather and more forgiving pollution envelopes on board could be a bigger challenge.