The Los Altos City Council unanimously approved the Climate Action Plan at the council meeting Dec. 10, 2013.
This culminates a two year effort, but Zach Dahl, Senior Planner, cautioned us, “Now the hard work begins.”
The plan has over 40 specific measures that will bring the city into compliance with the California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), a landmark bill that requires the state to roll greenhouse gas emissions back to 1990 levels by 2020. A good chunk of the reductions will occur because of changes made at the state and federal levels, such as fuel efficiency standards, energy efficiency standards, and an increase in renewable energy produced by our energy suppliers. That still leaves some work for Los Altos.
The actions Los Altos will take were selected to provide benefit beyond greenhouse gas emission reductions. The bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure will be expanded. This will be good for people who want to get out of their cars, provide healthy exercise and produce less greenhouse gases. Building regulations enhancements will improve energy efficiency and the City will expand its outreach about energy efficiency options. This will save us money in the long run with lower energy bills and produce less greenhouse gases. Public charging stations and pre-wiring for electric vehicle (EV) charging will encourage the adoption of electric vehicles, which with zero tail pipe emissions, means cleaner air for us and our children. Water conservation measures will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions (pumping water takes energy) and planting more shade trees will capture carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas.
Monitoring and reporting
The council took an active interest in making sure we meet our target. They asked for a mid-year report rather than waiting until the end of 2014. They asked for a detailed progress report after two years, rather than waiting until 2018. They offered a number of suggested enhancements that will be incorporated in the implementation phase. The next step according to Mr. Dahl is to assign the measures to the lead departments within the city and the departments will then develop a plan and a schedule. The Environmental Commission will develop a web site dashboard so everyone can track our progress.
Thanks to the Environmental Commission and the City Council for great progress in our fight against global warming! Want to read the Plan? Here’s the link.
For more information, contact Gary Hedden, GreenTown Energy Program Chair at energy@GreenTownLosAltos.org.