*including state and federal events that also affected LA in 2012
Let’s look back together and see what was relevant (environmentally speaking) in 2012.
Of course, in my eyes, the story of the year happens to be the story of the century: climate change hit home in 2012. Inasmuch as Hurricane Sandy was significant, 2012 was also the hottest year in U.S. history. Do you remember last summer’s heat waves in Los Angeles? That’s why I started Climate Resolve – to encourage our leaders and residents to take action in getting LA get ready for anticipated changes while working to reduce our contributions to this global problem.
Next week, I’ll send predictions and enviro-things-to-watch in the new year – but for now here’s how 2012 shaped-up.Warmest regards,
Executive Director, Climate Resolve
- Environmental candidates win in November! In California, Democrats wield a super-majority in the legislature.
- California hosts a successful first auction of CO2 allowances.
- LA’s zero waste plan leaps forward with the approval of the private hauler franchise initiative, enabling environmentally preferred waste pickup from commercial properties and apartment buildings.
- UCLA IoES develops a comprehensive sustainability vision for the City of Los Angeles.
- Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters hosts the first-ever network-cosponsored televised environmental debate of L.A. mayoral candidates.
- Proposition 30 passes, avoiding massive cuts to environmental, educational and public health programs.
- City of Los Angeles sponsors a groundbreaking UCLA climate change study predicting future temperature impacts at the neighborhood scale. Over 100 outlets cover the story including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Daily News and local broadcast news. (Climate Resolve will now take a bow.)
- Southern California Assn of Governments passed a landmark Sustainable Communities Strategy plan, potentially reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the region by 8% by 2020
- Public awareness of climate change is raised by Hurricane Sandy and this year’s extreme weather events. (Unlike Katrina, Sandy had the virtue of being provably exacerbated by anthropogenic climate change.)
- California passes new auto emission rules, mandating 1.4 million electric and hybrid vehicles on state roads by 2025.
- CARB adopts the final regulation for the Low Carbon Fuel Standard.
- Ninth Circuit allows enforcement of Low Carbon Fuel Standard.
- With proceeds generated by CARB’s cap-and-trade CO2 auction, CPUC decides to provide rebates to customers.
- EPA grants a waiver for California's Advanced Clean Car Program. The standard creates a .1 PM standard as part of the criteria pollutant standards embodied in the rule, continuing California’s legacy of driving vehicle emissions closer to zero. (Big kudos to Senator Pavley.)
- EPA issues new air quality standard for particulates.
- EPA issues new air pollution rules for industrial boilers.
- John Kerry, a leading advocate of international action on climate change, is nominated as Secretary of State.
- D.C. Circuit upholds EPA endangerment finding and rules for new stationary sources of greenhouse gases.
- Obama partially approves (and partially disapproves) controversial Keystone Pipeline.
- Mayor Villaraigosa wins America Fast Forward law, which will provide federal financial support for construction of local transportation projects.
- Obama administration finalizes new fuel economy rules that will double the current standard for cars and light trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon within 12 years.
- Expo Phase 1 is completed and construction begins on Expo Phase 2 and the Gold Line Foothill extension.
- Los Angeles County Public Health released a great guide on all things bicycle.
- Downtown voters approve a new Streetcar.
- New bike lanes are created in downtown Los Angeles.
- CicLAvia hosts fourth and fifth events. Over 200k participate. CicLAvia also receives major Metro grant.
- LADOT buses get better.
- Proposition 39 wins, sending $550 million per year for five years to energy efficiency and clean energy projects in public buildings and schools.
- LADWP builds 20 megawatts of solar on city property, and begins construction on two major solar projects that will deliver an additional 460 megawatts.
- Solar feed-in-tariff demonstration project begins.
- Rooftop solar program expands, reaches 100 gigawatt hours benchmark.
- Open Neighborhoods creates an awesome on-line solar-resource with links to an updated County solar map.
- LADWP doubles its budget for energy efficiency.
- Wind power tax credit extended at last minute in fiscal cliff negotiations.
- Energy Upgrade California grows in LA County.
- Radiation leaks at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) permanently shutters one of the two of the two reactor units. SCE seeks NRC authority for the remaining unit to operate at 70% power. The AES plant that supplemented SONGS this past summer is unavailable in 2013. A city council resolution suggesting a full shutdown was delayed.
- LAUSD and Solar City team-up on a 7.4-megawatt (MW) solar power project.
- Headworks reservoir in Griffith Park begins construction. First stage of the reservoir will be completed in 2014. Headworks is part of $1.1 billion in capital water projects, helping the City transition off of chlorine disinfectant. Within the next five years, LA’s water will smell and taste much better.
- This year’s rainy season is better than average.
- LADWP expands water recycling to the harbor area, UCLA, Griffith Park and Elysian Park.
- Rainwater harvesting is now legal in the state of California.
- Plastic bag ban is approved in Los Angeles; implementation begins.
- LA Regional Water Board passes a weak stormwater permit.
- In 2012, local beaches were slightly cleaner thanks to more facilities that capture and treat rainwater.
- LA’s Low Impact Development ordinance comes into force.
- Supreme Court hears the case on LA County’s stormwater permit (decision coming in 2013)
- Grand Park opens in downtown Los Angeles.
- An environmental justice victory. Although the Space Shuttle Endeavour’s passage from LAX to the California Science Center resulted in cutting-down hundreds of trees, a coalition of Community Health Councils with support from TreePeople and NorthEast Trees negotiated a mitigation that included the planting of four large trees for each one cut, plus five years of maintenance, employing local youth in the process.
- LA City Planning Commission approves the LEED-neighborhood Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Plan.
- City Hall converts North Lawn to demonstrate benefits of drought-resistant gardening.
- South Los Angeles Wetlands Park is completed.
- EPA and DTSC renege on deal to cleanup Santa Susana Field Lab to highest standards, despite recent DOE finding of strontium-90, cesium-137 and tritium at the site.
- Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator merges with Clean Tech LA, expands with new funding, new construction and new businesses.