The City of Laguna Beach is undertaking a new project to develop and implement a comprehensive Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP). The aim of this CAAP is to address the urgent need for mitigating climate change and adapting to its impacts in the local community. This project will involve a collaborative approach that engages stakeholders and aims to achieve sustainable and resilient policies and programs that will improve community health and livability. The CAAP will be consistent with the State of California’s priorities and will allow us to do our part to meet state and national emission reduction and resiliency targets. Climate change is happening and will affect us all, but we as a community have the power to come together and minimize the impact in ways that benefit all those living and visiting Laguna Beach. The CAAP will set out the following strategies:
- Mitigation: The CAAP will outline strategies and actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition towards a low-carbon economy. This will include measures such as promoting renewable energy, increasing energy efficiency, and reducing emissions from transportation, buildings, and waste management.
- Adaptation: The CAAP will identify vulnerabilities and risks associated with climate change impacts, such as extreme weather events, sea level rise, and temperature changes, and develop strategies to adapt to these impacts. This will include measures such as enhancing infrastructure resilience, protecting natural resources, and improving emergency preparedness and response.
- Community Engagement: The CAAP will involve active engagement and participation of the local community, including stakeholders such as residents, businesses, organizations, and other relevant groups. The input and feedback from these stakeholders will be integral in shaping the CAAP and ensuring its effectiveness.
- Equity and Social Justice: The CAAP will prioritize equity and social justice considerations, aiming to ensure that the benefits and burdens of climate action and adaptation are distributed equitably across the community. This will include addressing environmental justice issues, engaging vulnerable and marginalized populations, and promoting inclusive decision-making processes.
- Implementation and Monitoring: The CAAP will provide a roadmap for implementation, with clear timelines, responsibilities, and performance metrics. Regular monitoring and reporting will be undertaken to track progress, assess effectiveness, and make necessary adjustments to ensure the CAAP's success.
- Improved resilience to climate change impacts, reducing risks and vulnerabilities in the local community.
- Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to global efforts to mitigate climate change.
- Enhanced community engagement, ensuring that the CAAP is responsive to local needs and priorities.
- Promotion of equity and social justice, fostering inclusive and fair climate action and adaptation measures.
- Creation of a sustainable and resilient future for the local community, benefiting current and future generations.
The City of Laguna Beach is taking the initiative to develop a Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP), a 2022 & 2023 priority for the Laguna Beach City Council. The CAAP will build on the City’s 2001 "Vision 2030", and the 2009 Climate Protection Action Plan (CPAP), which was written entirely by Laguna Beach residents in response to the City’s Environmental Sustainability Committee call for the formation of a Climate Protection Work Group to prepare such a plan. The CPAP, modeled after the U.S. Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement of 2007, has 94 CPAP goals and objectives for climate protection, benchmarks, and milestones to measure success, and recommended greenhouse gas reduction measures. To-date, the City has updated the CPAP twice, in 2012 and 2017, and has effectively achieved over 95 percent of its CPAP Goals.
The goals of the CAAP are to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated from the community and the City’s facilities and operational activities, and to improve resilience to climate change-related disasters. This is a more comprehensive approach to reducing GHG emissions and integrating climate adaptation strategies. The CAAP will outline strategies and specific action items to reduce GHG emissions and address related hazards to climate change.
In 2022, California law (AB 1279) set a new statewide goal to achieve net zero GHG emissions by 2045 with a minimum GHG emissions reduction of 85 percent below 1990 levels, and to achieve and maintain net negative greenhouse gas emissions thereafter. The state has also set a goal of reducing GHG emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 (SB 32). The City’s CAAP is an opportunity to update City goals and targets for these milestone years.
The Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) is in its first stage of development.
What is the Climate Action Plan?
The Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) is a long-range plan that lays out Laguna Beach’s approach to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adapt to climate change. In the long term, the CAP will provide co-benefits to the community by reducing air pollution, supporting local economic development, and improving public health and quality of life.
How We Got Here
Overall, the City of Laguna Beach has made progress toward a more sustainable, resilient, and environmentally friendly community. These local actions include:
- The Path to Plastic-Free Laguna Beach program
- A series of resident-serving programs and policies called the Neighborhood and Environmental Protection Plan ("NEPP")
- Expanding the City’s Plastic Pollution Policy
- Adopting the Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP) (2018), which is currently being updated.
- Established committees to providing recommendations for environmental sustainability and how the community can best prepare for and emergency or disaster, (i.e., Emergency & Disaster Preparedness Committee, Environmental Sustainability Committee)
- The “Climate-Wise Actions” created by Climate Wise Laguna, a local community group
- Working with the State to establish the Laguna Beach State Marine Reserve. Laguna Beach is the only city in California with all of its coastal waters protected by this kind of designation.
- Efforts by groups such as the Laguna Canyon Conservancy and the Laguna Canyon Foundation to protect and conserve the Laguna Canyon.
What are greenhouse gases?
According to the United States Department Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), greenhouse gases are gases that trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. The primary greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N20), and fluorinated gases.
What does it mean to reduce GHG emissions?
Reducing greenhouse gases means selecting and using a set of strategies, such as using clean energy, using an alternative transportation, suited to efficiently accomplish GHG reduction.
How is this different from the Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP)?
The LHMP’s focus is to provide public safety officials and city staff, elected officials, and members of the public with an understanding of the threats from natural and human-caused hazards in our community. The LHMP is a short-term document containing specific recommended actions to proactively decrease these threats before disasters occur. The CAAP simultaneously addresses climate change-related natural hazards and the community’s climate resilience so that it is in line with the LHMP.
What does MT CO2e mean?
This is the abbreviation for ‘Metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent’, a metric used to compare the emissions from different GHGs based on their global warming potential (GWP).
What does it mean to be net zero or carbon neutral?
Net Zero means that the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) we produce is no more than what we reduce. Carbon neutral means that any emissions we produced are balanced out by efforts to remove the same volume of emissions from the atmosphere.
What is the State doing to reduce GHG emissions in Laguna Beach?
The State is reducing GHG emission in Laguna Beach:
- Requiring that electric utilities sell more electricity from renewable sources, with all electricity to be renewable or carbon-free by 2045.
- Phasing out the sale of new gasoline and diesel vehicles.
- Requiring stricter energy efficiency standards for new buildings.
- Requiring local communities to compost organic waste instead of sending it to landfills.
- Banning the sale of new gas and diesel small equipment, like leaf blowers and lawnmowers.
Will the CAAP give the City credit for existing environmental conservation and sustainability programs?
Yes, the results of existing efforts will be considered in the GHG analysis as long as data to support this is available.
What is a GHG emissions inventory?
This is a list of emission sources and associated emissions quantified using standardized methods. The purpose is to manage GHG risks and identify reduction opportunities.
What is a climate vulnerability assessment?
A Climate Vulnerability Assessment identifies who and what in Laguna Beach may be most vulnerable to climate change-related hazards based on their exposure to projected changes in the environment, access to resources, and other factors. All communities in California are required to complete a vulnerability assessment.
What climate hazards will be evaluated in the climate vulnerability assessment?
The preliminary list of climate hazards to be evaluated in the Climate Vulnerability Assessment are as follows:
Will the CAAP consider GHGs from visitors?
Yes. Vehicle trips from visitors, emissions associated with the energy and water they use, and emissions from the solid waste and wastewater they produce will all be factored in.