Sun, Jul

For LA: Life and Death


JUST SAYIN’-Councilmember Paul Koretz (CD 5) took the lead again when he appeared on City Hall steps about ten days ago to announce the necessity for LA “to set a new ‘life and death’ goal for slashing greenhouse gas emissions, warning of dire consequence if government and business leaders drag their feet.” 

Over the last few years, Los Angeles has been in the forefront for passing ordinances and resolutions to support State and Federal policy regarding environmental protections:  getting LA off coal by 2020, banning single-use plastic bags, reaching higher levels of energy efficiency, and so forth. 

Koretz introduced a resolution for LA to cut “its emissions to 80% below its 1990 level by 2050.”  He is further asking that LADWP, which is already on record for slashing emissions 30% by 2035, to increase that goal to 80% by 2030.  

As I have mentioned in an earlier article, DWP has previously approved targets to expand renewable energy and to get LA off coal through recent agreements with its partners, Navajo Generating Station in Arizona and Intermountain Power Plant in Utah.  Thus, Koretz’ approach  builds on those earlier agreements. 

The Koretz resolution, co-sponsored by Councilmembers Buscaino, Fuentes (Chair of the Energy and Environment Committee), and Huizar, was passed unanimously on June 27, (by the 11 who were present) to support the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan Program and include it in the City’s Federal Legislative Program.   Not only will Los Angeles support the EPA policy but will expand upon its requirements at the local level.  Implementation would produce the following results: 

  • reducing particle pollution, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide by more than 25%
  • cutting carbon emissions from the power sector by more than 25%
  • reducing LAs carbon footprint by 80% by 2050
  • adding more solar rooftops, park trees, and clean-burning waste-removal trucks

There are concerns that electric rates will go up.  Generally, this will not be the case.  The cost to install solar energy has dropped by about 50% per watt.  The purchase of wind energy will also reduce costs.  The important issue, in the meantime, is not to trade one bad practice for another; in other words, we do not want to replace coal with other fossil-fuel properties such as natural gas obtained through fracking. 

There are numerous benefits to making this change:  local jobs will be created to meet the new and increased demand for energy-efficiency.  Manufacturing and installing green technologies with the domino effect of increasing purchasing power that comes from higher-paying salaries and energy-bill savings will accrue.  “Made in America” will mean something again since these products from the smallest screw to the largest solar panel or wind turbine can be made right here instead of abroad [a situation which also reduces the carbon footprint in a major way through vastly decreased transportation emissions from there to here (with reduction in concomitant costs)]. 

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The vast majority of scientists (97%) have concluded that carbon fuels are the greatest contributor to the earth’s warming which is already being demonstrated through the melting of Arctic ice, rising sea levels, extreme weather events (dramatic increases in frequency and destruction from floods, rain storms, tornados, and hurricanes).  

Furthermore, increase in the number of earthquakes has also been directly related to the fracking process (releasing fossil-fuel natural gas), the locations of which are found all over the country.  Higher heat levels and decreasing snow pack resulting from global warming and the increased amount of greenhouse emissions are also some of the dismal results coming from our deferring actions and seeming indifference to these problems. 

Most of these consequences cannot be reversed.  We can, however, slow down the magnitude of our current indifference and save the planet.  Nevertheless, even at this stage, our life styles will have to change.  It should be all too clear to all of us that if we put off addressing global-warming effects, we may be responsible altogether for the demise of this globe we call earth. 

Councilmember Koretz and other individuals and all environmental groups and supporters understand that we cannot afford (in every connotation of that word) to put off these vital decisions another day.  If China has agreed to “take steps to reduce its carbon emissions,” then certainly we have no excuse to do otherwise. 

We can no longer pretend that global-warming is a hoax!  But even if that were true, we are obviously suffering from dramatic climatic changes.  Yes, climate and weather patterns have been oscillating since the beginning of time.  Yet, if we do not address the impact these changes are having on the earth right now and attempt to mitigate the effects immediately, waiting for the climate to change again (in a way that is more conducive to life as we know it) will not happen. 

We are faced with irreversible changes that will not sustain us.  We might just have to start all over again!  But maybe, under the circumstances, that will not be all that bad. 

Just sayin’.


(Rosemary Jenkins is a Democratic activist and chair of the Northeast Valley Green Alliance. Jenkins has written Leticia in Her Wedding Dress and Other Poems, A Quick-and-Easy Reference to Correct Grammar and Composition and Vignettes for Understanding Literary and Related Concepts.  She also writes for CityWatch.)







Vol 12 Issue 55

Pub: Jul 8, 2014












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