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Climate and Environment

LA City Council Takes Another Step Towards Climate Goals With More 'Green' Vehicles And A Better Power Grid

A red fire truck has the number 82 on the side and a striped zig zag with the "Class 1"
L.A. Fire Department's electric fire truck, the first in North America.
Courtesy Rosenbaur RTX)
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Los Angeles City Council committed last year to getting 100% of the city’s energy from renewable sources, such as wind and solar, by 2035. And on Tuesday, the council unanimously passed two motions to get closer to achieving that goal.

Here's what they approved:

No more gas-powered vehicles: One motion requires city departments to develop a timeline and plan to stop buying gas-powered vehicles and equipment. This applies to all city facilities, including major sources of pollution, such as LAX and the Port of Los Angeles.

A modern power grid: The other motion requires the L.A. Department of Water and Power to report on what’s needed to modernize the city’s power grid as it gets off fossil fuels.

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Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell introduced both motions and serves as Chair of the City Council’s committee on Energy, Climate Change, Environmental Justice, and the Los Angeles River.

“A few weeks ago, the LAFD [L.A. Fire Department] and I unveiled the first ever all-electric fire rig at Fire Station 82, the only one in all of North America,” he said at Tuesday's council meeting. “In the coming weeks, months and years, we'll see all-electric refuse trucks, street sweepers and everything else in the entire city fleet.”

What's In The Plan

O’Farrell said the vote supports a transition to more than 750,000 electric vehicles citywide. That will include the installation of more than 100,000 electric vehicle chargers by 2030. He said that work will create about 9,500 union jobs.

It also starts the process for initiating concrete plans on achieving climate goals set in recent years, said Councilmember Paul Krekorian, who co-introduced one of the motions and seconded the other with O’Farrell.

“The easy part is to say, let's reach a goal by ‘X’ date,” Krekorian said. “The hard part is figuring out how you make that actually work."

Krekorian credited O'Farrell with "getting us to the point that our goals and our vision for doing this decarbonization is actually real and it is going to happen.”

[O'Farrell, who is up for reelection, will face Hugo Soto-Martinez, a union organizer with UNITE HERE Local 11 on the November ballot. As of the most recent vote totals, Soto-Martinez got just under 41% of the primary vote to O'Farrell's just under 32%.]

L.A. has already reduced its greenhouse gas emissions to 49% below 1990 levels, O’Farrell said, but smog pollution remains some of the highest in the country. That pollution contributes to health problems and millions of premature deaths every year around the world, particularly in areas that are overburdened by pollution, such as communities near heavy industry and ports.

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Studies have found that electrifying vehicles and buildings significantly curbs air pollution and improves public health, as well as lowering the carbon footprint of a city.

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