Spotlight Is Put On Climate Playbook

With a state-mandated goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045, the city is in the process of completing a Climate Action Plan (CAP), which is set to be completed by fall 2020.

Rincon Consultants, which specializes in creating climate-action playbooks for cities, is working to develop the plan, and representatives for the company detailed goals for the future during a presentation on Jan. 14 at the City Council meeting.

The climate planning helps to achieve lower energy costs for residents and the city, reduces air pollution and supports economic development, according to the presentation. Currently the city is working off the Green Action Plan, adopted in 2019, which will fill the gap until the new plan is completed.

According to Rincon Outreach Specialist Lexi Journey, the CAP is a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), which are gases that trap heat in the atmosphere. The primary GHGs created by the community are methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide, which come from vehicle driving, electricity usage, water usage and waste processing.

Numerous state mandates dictate that cities are to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 (achieved by the city in 2016), reduce emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and finally achieve carbon neutrality in 2045.

Using 2016 as a baseline, Rincon found that South Pasadena by 2020 created 125,269 metric tons of CO2 emissions and the city created 2,755 metric tons of it (amounting for 2 percent of the total).

For the community, transportation was the top CO2 creator, with 54 percent, and energy usage (electricity and natural gas) came in second at 39 percent. Solid waste amounted to 6 percent and water usage at 1 percent.

For the city, energy was the lead CO2 creator with 58 percent, followed by waste at 21 percent, transportation at 20 percent and water at 1 percent.

According to Journey, transportation and energy will be the main focuses of “plays,” or measures Rincon is currently developing to serve as guidelines for the plan.

The next stages of the CAP development include adopting targets to meet the state goals, developing strategies to reduce the GHGs, finding funding, implementing the plan and then developing a framework to track the city’s progress.

A community workshop is scheduled for late February or early March, with a draft Climate Action Plan expected to be released by the summer.