The City of Los Angeles received a C- grade from a new initiative that is benchmarking cities' efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
Environmental non-profit Global Green USA unvelied the beta version of City Carbon Index last week in an effort to motivate citizens to advocate for smart climate policies at a local level, starting in Los Angeles.
The web-based index was created to be similar to a smog index for CO2 pollution, to help people understand the magnitude of carbon emissions in a megacity like Los Angeles and to better understand how they can effectively help reduce its emissions.
The City of LA's C- grade is a result of LA having the dirtiest municipal utility West of the Mississippi (close to 50% of LA's power is derived from dirty coal). The city's commitment to getting off of coal is significant, but has suffered from a lack of transparency and intermittent leadership at the LADWP.
In addition, key strategies to provide a long-term substantive incentive program for solar power have been lacking in the long-term certainty needed to build a market. Additionally, despite a number of well-crafted renewable energy, transportation, and land use policies, many are only being partially enforced or supported.
The CCI grades cities based on their efforts to combat climate change
and ranks over 50 city policies that focus on reducing city CO2
emissions. The index presents both a number value for the city's
estimated annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (in millions of metric
tons of carbon dioxide [CO2]) and a letter grade that reports how well
the city is doing to adopt and implement GHG reduction policies. The CCI
also strives to build a network of activists by providing action alerts
and other resources that encourage citizens to push for political
action at the local level and create positive environmental change
within their communities.
The City Carbon Index was unveiled in Los Angeles, the first city to be graded through the Index, during a special Pre-Oscar® Party press event at Avalon Hollywood hosted by Global Green President Matt Petersen. Petersen was joined by senior students from the Environmental Charter High School, and representatives from the LA Business Council, Sierra Club, UCLA's Luskin Center and local elected officials.
"More than 70% of CO2 emissions come from cities," said Global Green President and CEO Matt Petersen. "Cities offer an important opportunity for individuals and communities to create and support innovative solutions to global warming that also create green jobs, improve air quality and provide model solutions to reduce carbon emissions."
The late Dr. Steven Schneider, the renowned Stanford climatologist and Global Green Board member was one of the project's key advisors who helped shape the direction of the iconic measuring tools. The idea for creating the City Carbon Index came out of discussions that Petersen first had with philanthropist Jena King at the Clinton Global Initiative in 2009 about how difficult it is for people to truly understand the carbon footprint of cities or how citizens can help reduce a city's footprint.
Launching first in Los Angeles, Global Green plans to enhance the index with carbon emissions reporting tools for individuals and institutions and by expanding the index to other cities across the U.S. and has invited the public to vote on the next city at the link below.