United States: Los Angeles’ Green New Deal (GND)

United States: Los Angeles’ Green New Deal (GND)

The United States city of Los Angeles (L.A.) launched the L.A.’s Green New Deal (GND) on 29 April 2019 with the aim to guide the city’s transition into an equitable and abundant economy powered by 100% renewable energy by 2045. It serves as an ambitious update to Los Angeles’ first-ever Sustainable City pLAn (pLAn), (a directive created in 2015) with more aggressive goals towards L.A.’s commitment to uphold the Paris Agreement. The pLAn has already met or exceeded 90% of the near-term goals on time and earlier.  The L.A. GND is a comprehensive roadmap to protect the environment, strengthen the economy, build a more equitable future and address environmental justice. It aims to tackle the climate emergency with accelerated targets, strengthen the economy and middle class, and set L.A. on course to be carbon neutral by 2050 — solidifying L.A.’s position as a national leader in solar energy, electric vehicle infrastructure, and green jobs. Due to its future-just vision, the positive early socioeconomic and environmental results, its participatory approach, and its respect for the Future Justice Principles (7/7), L.A.s GND is recognized with Future Policy Vision Award 2019, awarded by the World Future Council in partnership with UNDP and ILO.

At A Glance
  • L.A.’s Green New Deal is guided by four key principles: a commitment to uphold the Paris Climate Agreement; a promise to deliver environmental justice and equity through an inclusive green economy; a plan to ensure every Angeleno has the ability to join the green economy by creating pipelines to good-paying, green jobs; and a determination to lead by example within City government, showing the world what an urban Green New Deal looks like in practice.
  • LA’s GND is an urban green new deal serving as an inspiring model for other cities and forms the basis for an initiative on local production and can be considered as a grassroots movement of the megacity movement in California.
  • The Green New Deal leads with bold action to zero out Los Angeles’ main sources of harmful emissions: buildings, transportation, electricity, and trash. Accelerated goals and new targets include: Building a zero-carbon electricity grid — reaching an accelerated goal of 80% renewable energy supply by 2036; creating a Jobs Cabinet to bring city, labor, educational, and business leaders together to support an effort to create 300,000 green jobs by 2035 and 400,000 by 2050.

Policy Reference
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2015 Sustainable City pLAn

Selection as a Future-Just Policy

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LA’s GND is an urban green new deal serving as an inspiring model for other cities – solidifying L.A.’s position as a national leader in solar energy, electric vehicle infrastructure, and green jobs. LA’s GND shows how a city can transition into an equitable and abundant economy powered by 100% renewable energy. LA’s GND strives to uphold the Paris Climate agreement, deliver environmental justice and equity, provide quality green job opportunities, and to lead by example.

LA’s GND has served as an ambitious update to Los Angeles’ first-ever Sustainable City pLAn (pLAn) with more aggressive goals towards L.A.’s commitment to uphold the Paris Agreement. The pLAn has already met or exceeded 90% of the near-term goals on time and earlier.  Due to its future-just vision, the positive early socioeconomic and environmental results, its participatory approach, and its respect for the Future Justice Principles (7/7), L.A.s GND is recognized with Future Policy Vision Award 2019.

  Future-Just Policy Score Card

  • Our “Best Policies” are those that meet the Future Just Lawmaking Principles and recognise the interconnected challenges we face today. The goal of principled policy work is to ensure that important universal standards of sustainability and equity, human rights and freedoms, and respect for the environment are taken into account. It also helps to increase policy coherence between different sectors.


  Sustainable use of natural resources

  • Addresses Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Goals.
  • Commitment towards the Climate Agreement.
  • 35,000 green jobs have been created since 2013. GND aims to create 400.000 green jobs by 2050.
  • Is the number-one solar city in America.

 Equity and poverty eradication

  • Promote environmental justice.
  • Addresses disadvantage communities, especially those suffering from environmental deterioration.
  • Addresses children, youth and future generations.

  Precautionary approach

  • Addresses severe health issues caused by air pollution and scarcity of water.
  • Addresses homelessness, building sustainable houses.
  • It builds on scientific evidence and current scientific consensus.
  • The city has no influence on the curriculum. Children and Youth receive environmental education through NGOs.

  Public participation, access to information and justice

  • Builds on grassroot movements.
  • Extensive stakeholders engagement.
  • Youth engagement only recently.

  Good governance and human security

  • Very strong commitment from the Mayor and his office.
  • Establishing the Climate Emergency Mobilization Department.
  • Builds on strong structures developed throughout the Sustainable City pLAn.

  Integration and interrelationship

  • Strong commitment and integration of several institutions, local authorities and the environmental justice communities work together.
  • GND benefits city’s transition to an equitable and abundant economy powered by 100% renewable energy by 2045, providing 400,000 green jobs.
  • Mayor just announced the creating of a Jobs Cabinet to help train the next generation of workers for green jobs.

  Common but differentiated responsibilities

  • L.A.’s ambitious goals to tackle climate crises and work towards becoming a more just city.
  • Young people will benefit from the transition in total (health, social impact) and also through new green jobs.
  • All goals serve the environment and tackle its deterioration.

Context

For many years the city of L.A. and the state California have been suffering from the effects of the climate crisis and environmental degradation,  with consequences including droughts, heavy heatwaves, forest fires, and severe water shortage. In addition, the city has to tackle serious societal challenges, like homelessness and disadvantaged communities suffering from environmental deterioration (air pollution, water scarcity etc.). Traffic is another major challenge. The GND is a proposed economic stimulus programme in the United States that aims to address both economic inequality and climate change.  L.A.’s GND is a clear commitment to the Paris Agreement after President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Agreement. As with pLAn, L.A.’s GND was also developed with extensive input from various stakeholders addressing environmental justice. The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability also engaged in C40’s Deadline 2020 pilot program  to develop and implement the framework for climate action for L.A.’s sustainable goals. Just recently, the City Council approved the institutionalization of the first (ever) Climate Emergency Mobilization Department – and the first Climate Emergency Commission for climate emergency implementation blueprint.

Objectives

L.A. GND builds on pLAn’s four principles and targets including climate mitigation, access and equity, quality jobs, workforce development, health and wellbeing, economic innovation, increased affordability and resiliency. L.A.’s Green New Deal goals are:

  • 100% renewable energy by 2045
  • Recycle 100% of wastewater by 2030
  • Electrify the transport sector by 100% in 2030
  • Create 400,000 green jobs by 2050
  • Divert 100% of waste from landfills by 2050
  • Plant 90,000 trees by 2021
  • Source 70% of all water locally by 2034
  • 100% net zero emissions by 2050
  • Increase the percentage of zero emission vehicles by 100% by 2050

Methods of Implementation

There are coordinated planning and implementation efforts across City government through the network of Departmental Chief Sustainability Officers (DCSOs) and the formation of interagency committees – from EV infrastructure deployment to stormwater project. The Department General Managers performance reviews and annual goal setting is responsible for Accountability. There are Alignment of budget priorities in place and transparency is assured through regular progress reporting on L.A. open data portals and global platforms such as the Carbon Disclosure Project.

Recently, youth are addressed by social media. The website and the programme GND is also available in Spanish. A detailed and approved budget exists  and planning is done without taking any support from the Federal Government.

Impact

Los Angeles’ first-ever Sustainable City pLAn 2015 has already met or exceeded 90% of its near-term goals on time or earlier. These achievements include becoming the number-one solar city in America, pioneering new transportation technologies, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 11% in a single year, and creating more than 35,000 green jobs by 2013.  Inspired in part by the L.A. effort, more than 400 cities worldwide have now declared climate emergencies  and work together with L.A. towards a green transition through the C40 cities network.

Potential as a Transferable Model

It’s too early to predict, but looking at the impressive outcomes of pLAn and the ambitious goals of L.A., GND indicate that it provides inspiration to other countries. It shows that strong leadership and working in partnerships helps to address environmental injustice and make the shift to green economic growth at the same time. The L.A. GND is an urban concept, dealing with transportation, air pollution, etc. but general targets and some of the principles and values could certainly be replicated. 

Additional Resources

Mayor’s Office Los Angeles,  LA’s Green New Deal Sustainable City Plan, 2019

Mayor’s Office Los Angeles, MAYOR GARCETTI RELEASES THIRD ANNUAL SUSTAINABLE CITY PLAN PROGRESS REPORT, 2019

C40 Organization, Deadline 2020 – How Cities Will Meet the Paris Agreement, 2019

City of Los Angeles, 2019 Budget Summary, 2019

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