Oil derricks and refineries would disappear from the region.
Gas stations would become irrelevant.
Streetscapes would be dominated by electric vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians.
That’s the vision laid out in a sustainability plan that will be considered Tuesday by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
If carried out, the list of 159 action items included in the plan could dramatically transform LA’s landscape in the coming decades. County officials call the scheme to phase out fossil fuels the “nation’s most ambitious” regional proposal.
“We recognize the climate crisis and the need to act,” says Gary Gero, the county’s chief sustainability officer. “This is going to be a lot of hard work.”
Like the city of LA’s sustainability initiative, referred to by local officials as a “Green New Deal,” the county’s plan calls for complete carbon neutrality by 2050—meaning that carbon emissions would be reduced to zero or completely offset on a countywide level.
By many estimates, that may be too slow.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global warming could reach 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2030, with potentially devastating consequences. But the proposals from the city and county put Los Angeles in a position to honor the Paris Accord, which the U.S. abandoned in 2017.
Many elements of the plan could come together sooner. Gero says a proposal to power all of the county’s unincorporated areas using renewable energy could be realized even sooner than the 2025 goal included in the document.
Eliminating the county’s carbon footprint, even over a 30-year period, will require major shifts in LA’s planning process. Near-term solutions recommended in the plan include elimination of parking requirements for new housing and installation of bus-only lanes throughout the region.