Climate Change Primer
Check out this article, Short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change at the N.Y. Times website. It includes answers to important questions like “How much trouble are we in?” (The answer for those who can’t wait: “For future generations, big trouble.”)
It also includes answers to the question “Is there anything I can do?” (For those in a hurry: The single most important thing is to fly less.)
Climate Science Podcast
Forecast: a podcast about climate science and climate scientists
with Nature’s editor for climate science, Michael White
Biweekly interview show with working climate science researchers.
Visit the Forecast website.
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
by Naomi Klein
Free Study Guide and Lesson Plans
A set of 8 lessons for the book and film targeted at grades 9-12, to help users look critically at the idea of how our economic system’s push for continual growth impacts both the environment and quality of life for all people. View or download from the This Changes Everything website.
Meeting at City of Santa Ana re: their Climate Action Plan
On Wednesday, July 13, 2016, a contingent from Orange County for Climate Action (OCCA) met with two key architects of the City of Santa Ana’s Climate Action Plan (CAP). The meeting was part of OCCA’s effort to reach out to Orange County cities and advocate for renewable energy in the County.
2015 Santa Ana Climate Action Plan
Santa Ana’s CAP was finalized and adopted by the City Council in December 2015, culminating a four-year effort by city staff. Typically cities will develop a climate action plan as an adjunct to their general plan, which undergoes a comprehensive update every ten years or so. Santa Ana’s case was different. In 2012 city staff saw an opportunity to obtain funding for CAP development from Southern California Edison (SCE), authorized by the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC).
The resulting CAP is clearly written, detailed, and contains specific targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction.
Overall GHG emissions targets are as follows:
- For community-wide activities, 15% reduction from 2008 baseline emissions by 2020 and 30% by 2035
- For municipal operations (under direct control of city government), 30% reduction from 2008 baseline emissions by 2020 and 40% by 2035
Depending on the specific target, implementation will be via city ordinance, incentives to business and residents, voluntary measures, and state mandate.
Interestingly, the demographics and socio-economic status of Santa Ana’s population already make it one of the “greener” cities in the County. For example, the city has a higher number of residents per household than many neighboring cities. Also, Santa Ana uses 64 gallons of water per person per day, about half the average for all Orange County residents.
2016 General Plan Update
Currently Santa Ana is wrapping up the public input phase of its General Plan update. The General Plan will require several years to complete. The thinking of city staff responsible for the CAP development is that targets and implementation measures spelled out in the Climate Action Plan will be incorporated into the updated General Plan.
The project manager for CAP development told OCCA that, philosophically, the goal of city staff was to craft a plan that represents real steps forward, but was not so aggressive as to be rejected by the City Council. In fact, the words “climate change” are largely absent from the plan. Rather the plan is presented as a way to improve the lives and environment of city residents (which it will do). The project manager was aware of the City of Irvine’s draft CAP from 2006, which ended in rejection by the Irvine City Council.
Our thoughts in OCCA
We in OCCA must accept this kind of thinking and recognize that Santa Ana ranks well among Orange County cities in their commitment to reduce the impacts of climate change. Certainly their plan is not as bold as the CAP adopted by the City of San Diego last year, and it seems to fall short of state goals. The challenge for OCCA is to be able to walk this line between practicality and sufficiency in working with other cities in Orange County, and hope to obtain the boldest possible progress against climate change.