Los Angeles unveils plan aiming for all emission-free vehicles by 2050

Los Angeles unveils plan aiming for all emission-free vehicles by 2050
© Stefani Reynolds

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) on Monday announced a sweeping new sustainability plan touted as the city’s version of the Green New Deal.

The plan calls for 80 percent of the city’s electricity to come from renewable resources and 80 percent of its cars to run on zero-emission fuel or electricity by the mid-2030s, according to the Los Angeles Times. It updates a previous sustainability plan the city launched in 2015 and has been in the works for the past several years.

"While politicians in Washington talk about a Green New Deal, they can look to Los Angeles to see how we get it done. Our plan gives every other city in the country and the world a 'greenprint' to follow our lead," Garcetti tweeted Monday.

The Green New Deal is a progressive plan developed by Democrats in Congress that aims to commit the U.S. electric grid to full reliance on renewable energy by 2030 and jump-start the economy by increasing green energy industry jobs. But the term has become somewhat synonymous with many comprehensive climate efforts meant to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

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Another major goal of the road map is reducing the amount of time per day the average resident of the city spends driving. Angelenos currently drive an average of 15 miles per day, which the city’s plan aims to cut to 13 miles by 2025 and nine miles by 2035.

The plan aims to achieve this in large part through existing initiatives, such as an expansion of public transportation and a pilot program instituting "congestion pricing" for heavily trafficked parts of the city.

The plan further calls for upping the portion of electric or zero-emission vehicles driven in the city from 1.4 percent in 2018 to 25 percent by 2025 and 100 percent by 2050, according to the Times. It also sets a target of 28,000 public chargers for electric vehicles by 2028, a more than 13-fold increase from the current number of 2,100. The city's Department of Water and Power will be tasked to create more financial incentives for residents to buy secondhand electric vehicles.

The announcement comes as California is pitting itself against the Trump administration over its embrace of climate change cutting regulations. In the past year, the state has passed a law to transition to a 100 percent renewable powered electric grid by 2045 and has vowed to maintain the emissions standards set by the Paris climate agreement. 

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The climate plan's focus on cutting emissions for vehicles and promoting electric cars is in direct contrast with a proposed Trump administration rule that would weaken vehicle emissions standards set under former President Obama. California's government has vocally rejected the plan, saying it will infringe on the state's legal right to maintain clean air quality under the Clean Air Act. The fight is expected to play out in court.

Garcetti unveiled the plan shortly after New York City passed a similar building initiative called 45-2. New York also likened its plan to a state Green New Deal. The Climate Mobilization Act will require New York’s biggest commercial and residential buildings to reduce carbon emissions 40 percent by 2040 and 80 percent by 2050.