Climate in Los Angeles / Solutions

This page is about how people in Los Angeles are solving the climate situation with carbon-free local energy.

The biggest and best way to make climate change far less bad is to energize things with electricity – made from stuff that does not heat the atmosphere.

1. Local Energy Solutions: Vehicles

1.1 These are the latest numbers on electric vehicles in LA.

2. Local Energy Solutions: Homes

2.1 Celebrities solarized their LA neighbors’ homes too.

3. Local Energy Solutions: Buildings

3.1 LA School District’s 1,100 schools to be 100% decarbonized.

1. Local Energy Solutions: Vehicles

In Los Angeles, cars, suvs, trucks, busses, and motorcycles are the City’s biggest spewers of climate-damaging carbon. Manufacturers are beginning to produce electric vehicles, and a small percentage of vehicle-purchasers are starting to buy them. Electric charging stations –the analogue of traditional gas stations – are starting to appear in select places in LA. Eventually, these charging stations will get all their electricity from solar arrays and wind farms. Eventually, all vehicles will be electric. When these things happen, a huge chunk of LA’s climate responsibility will be fulfilled.

Problem is, with the 2030s soon upon us, eventually is not fast enough. The 2030s are when most carbon emissions should already have been drastically reduced, to prevent damage to the climate and the human species. What can people in LA do to quicken the adoption of electric vehicles?

1.1 These are the latest numbers on electric vehicles in Los Angeles.

The top selling make & models of plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) in California totalled 51,750 vehicles sold in the first six months of 2019. That reprepresents almost 5% of vehicles sold in California during that period. Top selling plug-in EVs in Los Angeles:

Best Selling 2019 Electric Vehicle: Tesla Model 3

a view from above the Tesla Model 3 where you can see the whole top of the car is made of glass. photo

Next best sellers (in order): Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf, BMW 3i, Chevy Volt, Hyundai Kona

More charging stations are coming: As of October 2019, there were 175 EV charging stations within Los Angeles city limits – all available to the public.  By way of the LA Green New Deal, 500 more charging stations will be installed, and the proportion of electric vehicles in the city will increase to 25% by 2025; 80% by 2035; and 100% by 2050. To help this along, the City offers rebates for electric vehicles chargers and used electric vehicles.

A motorcyclist leans into a curve in the highway.

Electric motorcycles are here. At $30,000 per bike, Harley Davidson’s 2020 LiveWire electric motorcycle is currently not your most affordable way to solve climate change. Economies of scale will make the LiveWire affordable if people buy and like this new sport motorcycle. The LiveWire takes about an hour to charge (with a public charger) – for a powerful ride of 140 city miles. In 2020, Harley is set to deliver 160 electric motorcycles to seven Los Angeles area dealerships. Harley has been working to increase the number of charging stations available in Los Angeles and across the country.

Car photo: This is the 2020 Tesla Model 3. Each year, one all-electric plug-in car can prevent up to 5 tons of carbon dioxide from heating the atmosphere.

Motorcycle photo: “Harley-Davidson’s new LiveWire electric motorcycle is seriously sporty, shockingly fast and whisper-quiet – everything a typical Harley isn’t.”  – RiderMagazine.com

Industry report: California Green Vehicle Report Q3, 2019, California New Car Dealers Assn. https://www.cncda.org/news/california-electric-and-hybrid-vehicle-sales-increasing-other-powertrains-decreasing-in-sales-2/

News of record: latimes.com/business/story/2019-12-01/electric-vehicle-sales-in-california-on-the-rise-but-is-it-enough-to-reach-the-5-million-goal-by-2030

City site: plan.lamayor.org/sites/default/files/pLAn_2019_final.pdf

Market news: ridermagazine.com/2019/01/07/harley-davidson-announces-livewire-electric-motorcycle-pricing/

2. Local Energy Solutions: Homes

2.1 Solar celebrities make good neighbors.

Solar Neighbors happened from 2002 to 2007. It’s success could motivate new endeavors. Like a sequel.

Edward Norton looking at you directly in the camera

Actor Edward Norton (American History X, Fight Club, Motherless Brooklyn) made solar power available to low-income LA residents with his Solar Neighbors Program. He arranged with a major solar panel manufacturer to install solar panels on a low-income household each time a participating celeb installed solar panels on their own home. 

Actor Edward Norton with a family in front of small home. photo

Solar workers arrived at the homes of over 100 lower-income families, and installed photovoltaic panels on their rooftops. Each family’s solarized home saved them paychecks worth of money, and put so many tons less carbon into the warming atmosphere. 

Julia Roberts’ LA home gets 100% of its energy from rooftop solar electricity. Other LA-area celebrities in the Solar Neighbors Program: Don Cheadle, Danny DeVito, Daryl Hannah, Salma Hayek, Will Ferrell, Larry King, Rhea Pearlman, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Bruce Willis, Owen Wilson, and families of the late actors Larry Hagman and Robin Williams.

Industry news: looktothestars.org/charity/solar-neighbors-program

Popular magazine: grist.org/article/little-norton/

Lifestyle blog: refinancegold.com/top-bank-accounts/celebs-serious-eco-friendly-houses-stars-lead-way (October 14 2019)

3. Local Energy Solutions: Buildings

Large school districts have capital improvement budgets that can be prioritized to make their energy cost start to go way, way down. Ongoing affordability of electricity is best accomplished with on-site solar electricity.

3.1 LA’s 1,170 schools are on track to go 100% electric by 2040. Logistically, this is like of sending people to Mars.

An aerial view of a high school parking lot where all the cars are shaded from the sun by solar carports. photo

The Los Angeles Unified School Board announced in December 2019 it’s commitment to switch 100% of the huge district’s energy needs to clean energy by 2040. LA Unified has over 1,000 schools serving 600,000 K-12 students) LA Unified is already committed to reducing 20 percent of energy consumption by 2024 and has implemented a number of energy-saving measures, including the Lighting Retrofit Program at 100 schools, and energy efficiency upgrade projects at 21 schools.

In 2020, the LA school district has 105 schools and sprawling parking lots covered with solar-paneled parking structures. These onsite solar power plants make enough electricity to satisfy most of these buildings’ electricity needs. Energy-wise, the amount of solar electricity  generated at these school campuses is enough to power over 24,000 average-size homes. Climate-wise, each year, the solar panels keep 175,000 tons of climate-damaging carbon from the atmosphere.

Local alt news: LAist.com/2019/12/02/lausd_green_new_deal_clean_renewable_energy_resolution.php

District site: achieve.lausd.net/site/default.aspx?PageType=3&DomainID=4&ModuleInstanceID=4466&ViewID=6446EE88-D30C-497E-9316-3F8874B3E108&RenderLoc=0&FlexDataID=84166&PageID=1