Los Angeles officials announced a new community engagement process to involve the people most affected by climate change in the city’s building decarbonization process. The city’s Climate Emergency Mobilization Office will solicit and incorporate the input of vulnerable communities into policy decisions, with a goal of decarbonizing all buildings by 2050. By 2030, all new buildings in L.A. must be zero carbon.
Urban buildings contribute 43% of L.A.’s carbon emissions, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said at a news conference. The city contains more than 1 million buildings, which have a combined total of about 2.5 billion square feet. To decarbonize a building, builders must replace fossil fuel-powered systems with green energy sources.
But in addition to incorporating the best energy sources, the Climate Emergency Mobilization Office has a list of key energy and housing justice principles. These include that building decarbonization should not lead to evictions, rent burden or harassment of tenants. Building owners can’t replace carbon-based infrastructure with alternate technologies that also pollute. Decarbonization technologies must be accessible and affordable for everybody, and people who currently live in the most polluted areas must reap the full benefits of these cleanup efforts. Workers in industries impacted by decarbonization will be able to retrain and get well-paid, unionized jobs in the green economy.
The Climate Emergency Mobilization Office will host a series of community assemblies early next year to explain technical points about decarbonization and to brainstorm ideas and solutions. It will incorporate its findings into plans to attain the city’s aggressive decarbonization goals.
“With this legislation, we are signaling that we are committed to ensuring that decarbonizing buildings will not lead to rising rents and utility costs for rent-burdened Angelenos or the slowing of housing production – particularly during this City’s historic housing and homelessness crisis,” said city council member Nithya Raman, co-author of the motion.
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