Efforts to take more aggressive local actions on climate change were supported by a City Council committee Tuesday, which approved development of a Green New Deal for Los Angeles and asked for more information on a proposal to create a Climate Emergency Mobilization Department.
Council members Nury Martinez, Paul Koretz, Mike Bonin, Curren Price, Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Monica Rodriguez introduced a motion recently that would direct the Department of Water and Power and other city departments to prepare a report on the development of a local Green New Deal, and the Energy, Climate Change and Environmental Justice Committee voted in support of the motion.
“The environmental movement started decades ago, but generations of Angelenos who live in frontline communities have for just as long, been left out of the discussion,” Martinez said.
“With today’s hearing, I am glad to see that my colleagues have recognized the urgency of addressing climate change, and are committed to tackling the environmental and social burdens in the very same frontline communities that have been most impacted by climate change.”
A national Green New Deal resolution sets a goal for the nation to get 100 percent of its power through renewable energy by 2030. The council motion discussed by the Energy, Climate Change and Environmental Justice Committee would have the city draft a policy which mirrors the “principles and priorities” of the Green New Deal unveiled by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, and backed by many of her party’s leading candidates for president, including Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California.
In April 2018, the Los Angeles City Council advanced a proposal to develop a Climate Emergency Mobilization Department to oversee efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions citywide and set aside $500,000 in funding in seed money for the project.
The motion seeking the establishment of the department was introduced in January 2018 by Koretz and Councilman Bob Blumenfield. Koretz’s office has drafted a report which offers several recommendations, including that the department be responsible for the development of metrics to measure and track the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, and develop an annual climate budget of greenhouse gasses and criteria pollutants to determine the city’s allowable annual emissions, similar to how the city’s financial budget determines its monetary expenditures.
“We believe the CEMD can be the mechanism by which LA’s version of a Green New Deal can quickly and effectively be developed, implemented and the necessary regional mobilization on climate action launched,” Koretz said Tuesday.
The committee asked for a number of reports from city staff on the proposal to create the new department, and requested they be prepared in time for another meeting scheduled in April.
Garcetti last year set a goal for Los Angeles to be carbon neutral by 2050.