Environmental Quality / 2013
Climate Resolve: Inspiring LA to Prosper in a Changing Climate
In 2050, Los Angeles will be 4 to 5 degrees hotter, access to water vastly diminished, wildfires and flooding more intense and frequent, and the sea level will be 5 to 9 inches higher, all because of climate change. The good news is there is plenty we can do to get ready for these changes, reduce impacts, and, most importantly, make Los Angeles a better place to live. To have a great LA in 2050, we have to start now.
Climate Resolve will use the LA2050 award to galvanize Los Angeles to become better prepared, safer, and more prosperous in the face of a changing climate. We will (1) release three new studies on how the climate will change in Los Angeles by 2050, (2) hold two community climate meet-ups to initiate action on climate solutions, and (3) install a cool roof on low-income apartments to demonstrate a proven solution.
SEEING LA’S CLIMATE FUTURE
First, we will work with our partners at UCLA to ensure that Angelenos understand the emerging science on LA area climate impacts, using our proven communications strategy. UCLA scientists are modeling what LA will look like in 2050. And Climate Resolve is shaping that vision. May to September 2013, Climate Resolve will assist UCLA in the release of climate studies on changes in snowfall in our local mountains, LA area precipitation, and Santa Ana wind conditions by 2050. Climate Resolve help people understand how these studies will affect their lives. Similar to the mid-century temperature study (described below), we will work with media to help ensure the science gets reported accurately and is relatable to the public. We will design maps, graphics, and posters that readily describe the findings in an accessible way, and incorporate the studies into the website C-CHANGE.LA so people can continue to have access to the latest science.
CLIMATE MEET-UPS: BUILDING RESILIENCE IN LA NEIGHBORHOODS
Not just reporting on our future but creating it, Climate Resolve will work with local leaders in two LA communities to look at neighborhood-scale impacts, and identify real, positive solutions that work in these neighborhoods. During the Fall and Winter of 2013, Climate Resolve will host two intensive community climate meet-ups through which we will work with community leaders, invite trusted messengers, and listen to community concerns. We anticipate engaging our partners in this phase to bring together the collective expertise and leadership on community engagement and environmental stewardship in Los Angeles. UCLA scientists will discuss climate impacts. Environmental practitioners will share solutions they have successfully employed around the city.
Each community climate meet-up will have two phases, beginning virtually with live Twitter parties where we engage community members in rapid, thoughtful, and inspiriting dialogue about climate impacts and solutions. One week later, we will host a follow-on in-person meet-up with the agenda informed by the outcomes of the Twitter party. The in-person meet-up will bring community members together with civic and environmental leaders to collectively identify policy measures and real, tangible actions that will prepare Los Angeles for a changing climate. The climate meet-up process will enable the people of Los Angeles to develop and implement solutions for their communities, working jointly with local environmental leaders, academic experts, and Climate Resolve. The result will be identification and action on priority community projects, such as installing a cool roof on a low-income apartment, a shady park with a cool playground, or a greenway along a stretch of accessible waterway.
The climate meet-ups will result in action, the beginning of Los Angeles building-up the social infrastructure to meet the climate crisis. Climate Resolve will work with our partners, including the City of Los Angeles, to obtain resources and get the job done. With Climate Resolve’s strong relationships at City Hall, we anticipate great success. When proven effective, we will expend the climate meet-up model citywide, continuing beyond the LA2050 project.
SHARING SUCCESS: INSPIRING ANGELENOS TO TAKE ACTION
We will promote success stories via Twitter, Facebook and other social media, providing a place for people to post pictures and videos of what they’re able to accomplish in their neighborhood or home or school. This will show people how easy it can be to take action.
MAKE LA COOL: START WITH WHAT WORKS
Cool roofs are a low-cost, accessible and proven solution to keeping Angelenos comfortable and safe, reducing air conditioning costs, and avoiding greenhouse gas emissions. For LA2050, Climate Resolve will spearhead a project to outfit an existing low-income apartment building in Los Angeles with a cool roof. We will work with residents to help track comfort and cost-savings as a proof of concept that cool roofs are an effective solution.
What are some of your organization’s most important achievements to date?
Climate Resolve was founded in 2011 to meet an enormous unmet need. America’s second-largest city did not have an organization dedicated to the climate crisis. Since then, Climate Resolve has collaborated with scientists and government on cutting-edge scientific research, communicated science to the public, and created solutions to meet this generational challenge and make Los Angeles a more livable place today and in the future. Climate Resolve is the only organization exclusively working to get Los Angeles ready for 2050.
From the start, Climate Resolve forged key relationships with local researchers, including a lasting collaboration with UCLA’s Dr. Alex Hall, a leading global expert on regional climate impacts. Dr. Hall developed a groundbreaking research method to model climate impacts at the local level. Released last June, “Mid-Century Warming in the Los Angeles Region,” shows temperatures at the neighborhood level. Before this study, global climate models lumped Los Angeles into a single data point, ignoring key influences of the local landscape such as mountain ranges, coastal zones, and valleys. UCLA will continues its research on how other climate factors will transform Los Angeles by 2050.
In June 2012, Climate Resolve organized the public release of the UCLA study on mid-century warming that reveals, with unprecedented specificity, how much warmer Los Angeles will be by 2050. We now know that most neighborhoods will be warmer by 4 to 5 degrees (F) by 2050, and certain neighborhoods will experience especially severe changes. Hollywood, Eagle Rock, Downtown, and Watts will have between two to four more days per year of extremely high temperatures (above 95ºF). The San Fernando Valley, specifically Woodland Hills, Porter Ranch, Sunland and Sylmar will have twelve to twenty more days per year of extremely high temperatures.
After the release, Climate Resolve immediately began working on solutions to help Los Angeles prosper despite a warmer future and identified a cost-effective proven solution that works well in our climate, cool roofs. In March 2013, Climate Resolve launched a Hot City, Cool Roofs initiative to help homeowners and apartment dwellers cool down, by hosting a free conference attended by over 300 Angelenos including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa who gave the keynote address. The Mayor announced that Los Angeles Building and Safety will develop new codes for the installation of reflective roofing materials on all homes and apartment buildings. LADWP announced it will expand cool roofs incentives to offset the cost of installation.
Climate Resolve also developed a web-based centralized clearinghouse of information on solutions for climate change in Los Angeles located on the Do Something tab of the webpage C-CHANGE.LA. Here anyone can locate helpful ideas and incentives provided by local and states governments to support implementation and learn about success stories for climate acti
Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.
UCLA Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability, Council for Watershed Health, Tree People, Romel Pascual, Deputy Mayor, Office of the Environment, City of Los Angeles, Green LA Coalition, Interfaith Power and Light
Please explain how you will evaluate your project. How will you measure success?
In the near term we will measure our success by tracking: (1) the reach of our climate science communications in terms of the number of news outlets and blogs that carry stories about the forthcoming UCLA studies after their release and visitors to the website C-CHANGE.LA; (2) attendance at community meet-ups, number of partner organizations engaged, and use of social media to organize and exchange ideas within communities; (3) implementation of numerous local actions to prepare for climate change; (4) installation of one cool roof on a low income apartment building with measurable benefits.
In the long term, beyond the LA2050 seed project, we will measure our success by the number of communities mobilizing to develop and implement solutions for climate change and the number of civic, academic, business and environmental leaders participating with Climate Resolve to build a better future. Over the next ten years, we hope to see widespread community level engagement in climate change planning and implementation of multi-benefit solutions. We will track progress visually on our website, maintaining a map of Los Angeles that shows progress one neighborhood at a time, tracking the evolving landscape as Los Angeles develops a better future.
How will your project benefit Los Angeles?
Using the LA2050 grant, Climate Resolve will help inform Los Angeles of the climate changes to come so that we can anticipate, prepare for, and reduce the impacts of climate change, while at the same time we help two of the most vulnerable communities in Los Angeles identify solutions and mobilize to take action to make their neighborhood better, stronger, and more resilient to climate change.
But our vision extends well beyond the work we will do in 2013-2014. Climate Resolve will leverage our experience, successes, lessons learned, and new partnerships developed with the LA2050 seed funding to scale-up the process into a long-term, city-wide effort of coordinated community-based climate planning and engagement. Climate Resolve will be a “big tent” where non-profit organizations, businesses, civic leaders, and communities can convene to help one another prepare for climate change.
What would success look like in the year 2050 regarding your indicator?
Los Angeles will have empowered communities that are prosperous, safe, comfortable, and healthy places to live. Starting now, communities will begin identifying and implementing strategies to get ready for climate change and reduce negative impacts, by identifying and achieving workable solutions. In 2050, communities across Los Angeles will have implemented actions and the city will look like this:
Angelenos will under cool and green roofs. Our children will play on cool playgrounds. Los Angeles will be laced with a network of neighborhood cooling centers in our schools, libraries, community centers, and parks to help the most vulnerable Angelenos escape extreme heat.
The landscape will be populated with shade trees, drought tolerant native plants, and permeable surfaces to conserve water and provide beautiful spaces for all to enjoy.
Major waterways will be flanked by publically accessible greenways planted with vegetation to recapture storm water, prevent floods, and recharge our groundwater so that people in Los Angeles can get their drinking water from reliable and inexpensive local supplies.
Where sea level rise is a concern, the first floors of multi-level buildings will be retrofitted to parking and other uses that can withstand occasional floods and single story buildings will be elevated above flood levels.
People will bike, walk, and ride the bus, trains, and subways to get just about anywhere they need to go.
Electricity from renewable sources will run the city and be produced from distributed sources—like solar panels on the rooftops of residential and commercial buildings.
Los Angeles will also be a city where we take better care of each other. Communities will be connected through social media and have plans and procedures for protecting the most vulnerable when there are high rains, severe winds, fire warnings, heat waves, and floods. The City of Los Angeles will be prepared and able to respond rapidly when severe weather occurs. No one will be left isolated and alone in the face of these challenges.