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Friday, July 13, 2012

Climate Action Plans

Under Development

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1. Background

2. Acronyms/Definitions
3. Business Case
4. Benefits
5. Risks/Issues
6. Success Factors
7. Case Studies
8. Organizations
9. Links

  • Local governments have the power to affect the main sources of pollution directly linked to climate change: energy use, transportation, and waste. Cities control the day-to-day activities that determine the amount of energy used and waste generated by their community - from land use and zoning decisions to control over building codes and licenses, infrastructure investments, municipal service delivery and management of schools, parks and recreation areas.

  • A range of actions can be incorporated into these operations to reduce associated global warming emissions. Local governments are uniquely positioned to influence citizen behaviors that directly affect climate change such as transportation options, energy consumption patterns, and general consumer decisions.

2. Acronyms/Definitions
  1. CAP - Climate Action Plan - Focuses primarily on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including emissions resulting from both the local government’s operations and from the community as a whole. It typically includes an analysis of the opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions resulting from energy use in transportation, solid waste disposal, buildings, lighting, and waste water treatment and water delivery. A few local governments also include environmental opportunities beyond reducing energy consumption—such as natural resources, urban forestry, and green jobs. A climate action plan often addresses the co-benefits of its initiatives, in terms of improving air quality or reducing storm water runoff.

  2. Community Protocol - The Community-Scale GHG Emissions Accounting and Reporting Protocol - The forthcoming U.S. national standard for how to measure and report a community's greenhouse gas emissions.

    On July 9, 2012, the draft Community Protocol was released for public comment. All comments will be due by July 30. The final Community Protocol will be released Sept. 10, 2012.

  3. MCPA - U.S. Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement -   Under the Agreement, participating cities commit to take following three actions: 
    1. Strive to meet or beat the Kyoto Protocol targets in their own communities, through actions ranging from anti-sprawl land-use policies to urban forest restoration projects to public information campaigns; 
    2. Urge their state governments, and the federal government, to enact policies and programs to meet or beat the greenhouse gas emission reduction target suggested for the United States in the Kyoto Protocol -- 7% reduction from 1990 levels by 2012; and
    3. - Urge the U.S. Congress to pass the bipartisan greenhouse gas reduction legislation, which would establish a national emission trading system

  4. LGO Protocol -  Local Government Operations Protocol - The U.S. national standard guidebook on how to quantify and report greenhouse gas emissions from local government municipal operations.

  5. Sustainability Plan - Ties together environmental, economic, and social equity goals, and includes specific actions to holistically address the three pillars of sustainability. It takes into account the interrelated issues of climate change, population change, land use, infrastructure, natural resource management, quality of life, public health, and economic development. Both short-term and long-term recommendations for initiatives that can measurably impact these issues can be included in a sustainability plan. A sustainability plan should not only include a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and environmental issues, but also goals to equitably improve land use practices and infrastructure such as by increasing open space, reducing storm water runoff, or providing more affordable housing options. The plan should recognize and highlight the co-benefits of the initiatives and illustrate how they can help achieve multiple sustainability goals. Social equity should be a crosscutting theme in the plan and each initiative should be designed so that the benefits will be distributed across the community

  6. VMT- Vehicle Miles Traveled - xx

ICLEI's Five Milestone Climate Mitigation Methodology 

3. Business Case
  1. Conduct a baseline inventory -  An inventory identifies and quantifies the global warming pollution produced by both government operations and the community at large in a particular year. The inventory and forecast provide a benchmark against which the city can measure the progress in terms of its own operations and that of its citizens. This emissions analysis identifies the activities that contribute to global warming pollution and the quantity of pollution generated by each of these activities. An inventory is established by collecting data about energy management, recycling and waste reduction, transportation, and land use.

     A local government can calculate global warming pollution for a base year (e.g. 2005)
    and for a forecast year (e.g. 2020). Expertise in climate science is not necessary. A wide range of government staff members, from public works to environment and facilities departments, can conduct an inventory.

  2. Establish a target to lower emissions - Setting a reduction target for global warming pollutants creates a tangible goal and metric to guide the planning and implementation of your community’s action. The target in the U.S. Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement is to reduce emissions by a minimum of 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. Almost all of the local governments participating in ICLEI’s CCP Campaign establish reduction targets of global warming pollution at 15 percent or higher to be met within a 10 year period.

  3. Develop a local Climate Action Plan - A local Climate Action Plan (CAP) is a customized roadmap to reduce global warming pollution by the target that your city has identified. The CAP includes an implementation timeline for reduction measures, costs and financing mechanisms, assignments to city departments, and actions the city must implement to achieve its target. The inventory and quantification of existing climate protection measures helps guide a city to understand where they can get the largest emissions reductions. Good CAPs also have information on how the identified measure/policy/strategy is going to be implemented.

    The majority of measures in CAPs fall into the following categories:
    • Energy Management
    • Transportation
    • Waste Reduction
    • Land Use

  4. Implement the local Climate Action Plan - Successful implementation of actions identified in the local Climate Action Plan depends on a number of factors including management and staffing, financing, a realistic timeline and stakeholder involvement in appropriate aspects of the Plan to build community support.

  5. Measure, verify and report performance - Verification of progress ensures integrity and accuracy in the city’s efforts to achieve its global warming pollution reduction target. The reductions that a city achieves through implementation of actions to reduce global warming pollution must be monitored to measure progress. Tracking progress builds political support, informs the process and often drives further city investment to advance climate protection.

4. Benefits
  • Save Taxpayer Dollars - Actions that reduce global warming pollution also reduce electricity and fuel use, minimizing energy costs for citizens, businesses and local governments. In 2005, through ICLEI’s Cities for Climate Protection  (CCP) Campaign more than 160 U.S. local governments reported collective savings of over 23 million tons of global warming pollution and $600 million in related energy and fuel costs.

  • Build the Local Economy and Create Jobs  - Decreased energy costs and the provision of new energy services and technologies (e.g. energy efficiency and renewable energy) give local government and private firms a competitive edge. Demand for energy efficient products and services and for new or alternative energy technologies expands local business and creates local jobs.

  • Improve Air Quality and Public Health - Reducing global warming pollutants also helps cities comply with federal air quality regulations and preserves federal funding for local projects. These strategies ultimately create less air pollution, which results in fewer air quality-related public health impacts, such as asthma and other respiratory ailments.

  • Improve Community Livability -Cutting global warming pollution includes measures that also reduce auto dependency and traffic congestion, clean the air, and contribute to more efficient land use patterns and walkable neighborhoods. In combination, these types of measures can help build a more livable community.

  • Connect Cities with National Leaders and Resources  - The expanding network of cities committed to advancing climate protection represent U.S. MCPA signatories, CCP cities and member cities of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

  • Create a Legacy of Leadership - Taking action on climate change provides tangible benefits for citizens today – and ensures that future generations will have access to the resources that support healthy, prosperous, and livable communities.

5. Risks/Issues
  • Community Involvement
  • GHG Accounting - Accounting for GHG emissions in transportation planning models and analysis is a new challenge. Analysis of transportation-related emissions is most usefully done at the regional system level rather than the individual project level. Several metropolitan areas, including Sacramento and Seattle, have pioneered new tools for comparing the GHG impacts of different regional development scenarios.'

  • Not Silver Bullet - Climate action plans are en vogue these days, but planners should be cautious of viewing them as silver bullets. While climate action plans — which may include baseline information on GHG emissions, targets for reducing these emissions, and strategies for achieving GHG reduction goals — can be useful tools for communities, these plans alone may not be enough to fully address energy and climate issues. As Stephen Wheeler points out in "State and Municipal Climate Change Plans: The First Generation" (Journal of the American Planning Association, Autumn 2008), many of these early plans lack adequate strategies and measures, few address adaptation, and implementation is problematic. These plans also vary greatly in content, with many focusing on municipal strategies such as greening vehicle fleets and public buildings, without addressing important areas in land use and transportation where planners can help make a difference. This may be due, at least in part, to the fact that some of these plans are being prepared outside of the planning department, sometimes with little input from planners.

  • Putting Money Where Your Mouth Is - xxx

  • Adaptation - Many CAP's do not address Adaptation.

  • NIMBY - Denser zoning and other land use changes incorporated in a CAP may be viewed as good ideas when putting together a theoretical plan, but may not be popular with local residents when implemented.
  • Opposition to Mandates - Mandates are less preferred by most communities, although they are more effective than incentives. Mandates that call for energy efficiency improvements at time of sale either by seller or buyer have been an effective measure adopted by some municipalities. Some communities have opted out of these measures, as real estate agents are often nervous about placing any extra burden on buyers 
  • Property Rights / Opposition to Land Use Restrictions - The opponents of the plan said they want to let the free market determine where and what type of housing would be built. One man stood up and shouted, "If we need stack and pack housing because there's a sufficient market for it, and people are willing to pay for it, it will get built without your intervention." 
  • Personal Automobile Lifestyle - Most American suburbs and many cities have been built around the personal automobile "You're going to make it harder for the middle class to use their cars. Their cost of living is going to go up, and so how are low income people going to move up, have upward mobility?"

6. Success Factors
  1. Maximizing reductions
  2. Cost-effectiveness
  3. Stakeholder support
  4. Goals of related plans -  When possible, planners should take a leading role in the preparation of these documents to ensure a more comprehensive approach.
  5. Regional collaboration and/or cost-sharing
  6. Legislation/Regulations
  7. Tie to local priorities
  8. Risk perception: risk judgments are based on perceived control, the distribution of costs and benefits, and the trust in those managing the risks;
  9. Environmental attitudes: Deeply held values and beliefs underlie overall assessments about environmental issues. Research, has shown that the perceived risk of climate change is less tied to specific beliefs about cause and effect and more tied to fundamental values of environmentalism;
  10. Procedural fairness: The extent to which people view decision making procedures as fair (for example, if they believe they have a “voice” in the process) can influence their support of the outcome;
  11. Community and Place: Several place-specific factors may drive support or opposition. Support in the abstract can easily turn to opposition when the strategy or approach is proposed for one’s local neighborhood

7. Case Studies
  • ICLEI USA has compiled this list of cities', towns', and counties' climate action  plans, sustainability plans, and general  plans with sustainability or climate elements.   The list includes both ICLEI member and nonmember U.S. local governments, and was last updated 11/30/09.

  • Berkeley CAP - The community’s target for the year 2020 is to reduce community-wide GHG emissions 33% (below 2000 levels). As of 2010, the community achieved nearly 50% of its year 2020 target for diverting waste from the landfill, over 20% of its electricity reduction target, and approximately 6% of its natural gas reduction target.

    Vision for a more sustainable Berkeley outlined in the Climate Action Plan:
    • New and existing Berkeley buildings achieve zero net energy consumption through increased energy efficiency and a shift to renewable energy sources such as solar and wind
    • Public transit, walking, cycling, and other sustainable mobility modes are the primary means of transportation for Berkeley residents and visitors
    • Personal vehicles run on electricity produced from renewable sources or other low-carbon fuels
    • Zero waste is sent to landfills
    • The majority of food consumed in Berkeley is produced locally
    • Our community is resilient and prepared for the impacts of global warming
    • The social and economic benefits of the climate protection effort are shared across the community
  • San Francisco 
  • Oakland CAP - In March 2011,  City Council passed Oakland’s first Energy and Climate Action Plan (ECAP) with some of the strongest green house gas reduction goals of any city in the country (36% below 2005 levels by 2020 and 85% below 2005 levels by 2050.)
  • Emeryville CAP - By 2020, the City plans on reducing emissions from the whole community and the government operations by 25% over 2004 levels.
8. Organizations
  1. ICLEI - Bonn, Germany  - ICLEI USA - Oakland, CA - originally stood for the “International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives,” but in 2003 the organization dropped the full phrase and became “ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability” to reflect a broader focus on sustainability, not just environmental initiatives.

9. Links
  1. Climate Action Planning Resources - ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability

1 comment:

  1. This project is surely going to be very beneficial for as long as the community participates well. I suggest they also put up some cfp filter press units on specified areas.