Climate Change in Los Angeles, CA

This page is about Los Angeles’ changing climate.

1.0 LA’s Past and Present Climate

1.1 What is LA’s climate changing from?

1.2 What is LA’s climate changing to?

1.3 LA’s current climate is going away.

2.0 Climate Forecast for LA

2.1 How hot will it get in LA?

2.2 This is how LA’s climate is changing.

2.3 This is why LA is warming differently in three different locations.

1.0 LA’s Past, Present and Emerging Climate

Climate is the usual weather over a long period of time. It’s usually measured in increments of 30 years. Climate is different depending where you are on the globe.

For millions of years, Earth has had roughly 16 general flavors of climate, the same climates we’ve had until the 2010s and early 2020s.

These climates are changing noticeably now. Some are changing faster than others. What kind of climate does LA thrive in now, and what kind of climate is LA changing to?

1.1 The longtime balmy climate of Los Angeles has a name. It’s what LA’s climate is changing from.

LA is the crowded, lively city it is largely because it has one of the most comfortable climates in the world. “Hot Summer Mediterranean” is LA’s scientific climate designation. This sub-type of Dry Subtropical Climate (one of the 16 general climates) has warm, sometimes hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters.

The geography of the City of LA sprawls into the neighboring “Cool/Warm Mediterranean” climate of the LA foothills and the “Semi-Arid” climate of the Baldwin Hills and the Port of Los Angeles on the coast.

Long before people, the region that is now the Los Angeles Basin has had the same pleasant Mediterranean climate for at least 50,000 years. Go back over the most recent 500+ centuries, and the highest summertime temp at future Dodger Stadium ranged between the mid 70˚s to mid 80˚s, with the temp rarely pushing past 90.˚ Just like in the 1990s. Until the climate started to noticeably change.

Holden, Anna,. et al. A 50,000 year insect record from Rancho La Brea, Southern California: Insights into past climate and fossil deposition. Quaternary Science Reviews, 01 May 2017.

Current: Q1 2023

wikipedia.org/wiki/Köppen_climate_classification

wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of_Los_Angeles

1.2 The climate in Los Angeles is changing, but what is it changing to?

A “Dry Whiplash” kind of climate describes LA’s emerging new climate regime. LA’s climate is quickening toward longer periods of total drought. Summertimes will have temps in 110s and 120s. Very hot weather will overtake much of what was LA’s predictably pleasant Fall. The whiplash term comes from University of California researchers describing LA’s surprisingly quick switches between many years of extreme drought and a few weeks of super-voluminous rainstorms …then back to drought again.

Note: LocalClimate.org’s “Dry Whiplash climate” description derives from California’s Fourth Climate Assessment 2018

1.3 Soon, in the late 2040s, LA’s dreamy sweet climate will be an epoch of the past.

The time when LA’s climate will have completely changed is the city’s time of “climate departure,” a kind of geo-temporal tipping point, or point of no return.

For Los Angeles, time of climate departure will be around the year 2048. This is when people in Los Angeles will never again enjoy the area’s comfortable Mediterranean climate. Instead, the LA region will exist in some brand new climate class, with its own set of patterns and characteristics.

In 2018, United Nations (UN) scientists made a shocking, historic warning: Devastating changes in climate will begin to manifest over the next few decades. The changes are happening in real time with the currently growing pace of carbon emissions. In 2021 UN scientists reported that the climate is quickly reaching a point where life will become difficult and society will struggle to function. If people cut back quickly, dramatically on burning carbon gas, coal, and forests, a long-term climate apocalypse can be avoided. In a 2030s or 2040s world with almost no new carbon added to the atmosphere, eventually, the heat can eventually dissipate.

It is still possible, in the 2100s, for droughts to become less severe. Rain and water supplies can eventually become more reliable, and people can consistently grow food outdoors.

1.0 California’ Energy Transition: Vehicles

Tracking California’s big switch to plug-in vehicles (first three months of 2021)

In Los Angeles, cars, suvs, trucks, busses, and motorcycles are the City’s biggest spewers of climate-damaging carbon dioxide. Keep in mind that carbon emissions everywhere must be drastically reduced by the 2030s to prevent extreme damage to the climate. So think about a new 2022 gas vehicle burning carbon to the atmosphere well into the 2030s. California has a target of ending new internal-combustion vehicle sales by 2035.  Those final gas vehicles could be emitting carbon into the 2050s.

Each year, an average-use all-electric car can prevent up to 15 tons of carbon dioxide from heating the atmosphere. Here, LocalClimate.org tracks numbers related to California’s great transition to electric vehicles. City-specific vehicle info is not available, so these numbers are state level.

Number of electric vehicles in LA (2022): 64,000

The Top Selling Plug-in Vehicle in California

Tesla Model Y

15,265 sold in the first three months of 2021

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

Next top sellers in Los Angeles during the first three months of 2021:

2) Tesla Model 3

3) Chevy Volt EV

Plug-in Vehicles sold recently in LA: 59,000

During the first three months of 2021, almost one out of 10 vehicles sold (59,000+) in California were plug-in. This includes all makes & models of plug-in (not hybrid) electric vehicles.

Number of public electric vehicle charge stations currently (2021) in Los Angeles

2,963

Electric charging stations –the analogue of traditional gas stations – are popping up in more and more LA locations. As of October 2019, there were 2,963 EV public charge stations were up and operating within Los Angeles city limits. By way of LA’s Green New Deal Plan, 500 more charging stations will be installed by 2025.

There were 3,000 public chargers in California during Q1, bringing statewide totals to 74,443 chargers.

Number of Electric Motorcycles in Los Angeles.

A motorcyclist leans into a curve in the highway.

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

Electric motorcycles are here. They’re powerful yet spew absolutely nothing. At $30,000 per bike, Harley Davidson’s 2020 LiveWire electric motorcycle will become affordable as sales increase. LiveWire takes about an hour to charge (on a public charger) for a powerful, silent ride of 140 city miles. In 2020, Harley was set to deliver 160 electric motorcycles to seven Los Angeles-area dealerships. Harley is making more charging stations available in Los Angeles and across the country.

A casual early consensus of long-time Harley riders is that they love the handling and acceleration (0 to 60 in 3 seconds), but aren’t so sure about the machine’s near-silence.

Current: Q1 2023

Industry report: California Green Vehicle Report Q3, 2019, California New Car Dealers Assn. https://www.cncda.org/news/?category=green-vehicle-report

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

Industry reports: Stephen Edelstein, “Plug-in Models Nearing 1 of 10 New Vehicle Sales in California” Green Car Reports May 7 2021. www.greencarreports.com/news/1132176_plug-in-models-nearing-1-of-10-new-vehicle-sales-in-california

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/

photo: RiderMagazine.com

2.0 Los Angles’ Energy Transition: Buildings

Next to vehicle emissions, buildings are the next largest carbon emitters in Los Angeles.

2.1 Los Angeles’ 1,170 schools are on track to go 100% electric by 2040. Logistically, “this is like going to Mars.”

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.

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 2021, 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.

Current: Q1 2023

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

2.2 Solarized homes by neighborly celebrities.

Edward Norton looking at you directly in the camera

A non-profit partnership electrified dozens of LA family homes with solar panels. It’s success could motivate new endeavors, like a sequel. Actor Edward Norton (American History X, Fight Club, Motherless Brooklyn) made solar power available to LA residents with his now-defunct Solar Neighbors Program. Norton arranged with a major solar panel manufacturer to install a solar system for a family’s home each time a participating celeb installed solar panels on their own home. 

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

Between 2002 and 2007, solar workers installed photovoltaic panels on the rooftops of over 100 families. Each family’s solarized home saved them paychecks worth of money, and put many tons less carbon into the warming atmosphere. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Julia-Roberts-LA-solar-home.jpeg

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

Current: Q1 2023

Mora, Camilo et al (2013). The projected timing of climate departure from recent variability. Nature. 502. 183-187. 10.1038/nature12540. 

Note: Time of Climate Departure is “the time after which all future years are predicted to be warmer than any year in the historical record [1865-2005]” 

IPCC, 2021: Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, A. Pirani, S. L. Connors, C. Péan, S. Berger, N. Caud, Y. Chen, L. Goldfarb, M. I. Gomis, M. Huang, K. Leitzell, E. Lonnoy, J. B.R. Matthews, T. K. Maycock, T. Waterfield, O. Yelekçi, R. Yu and B. Zhou (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press. In Press.

2.0 This is the current Climate Change Forecast for Los Angeles, California.

We use the familiar term “forecast” here rather than the scientific term “projections” for clarity.

The usual weather (the climate) of Los Angeles has been changing over the past several decades, and the change has been accelerating. Fifteen of LA’s 20 hottest years have all occurred between the 2000 and 2020. Going forward, Angelinos will want to know something about LA’s trending climate situation.

2.1 LA’s climate may be warming up faster than scientists had projected.

A toasty 116˚123˚ is the highest range of temps projected for Los Angeles (in LA’s Woodland Hills neighborhood) in upcoming decades – because of people’s currently increasing use of carbon-fired energy.

During the 2010s and into the 2020s, LA has had its warmest Summers on record. Recent years have brought record days of heat. People in LA’s Woodland Hills experienced a high temp of 121˚ in LA’s September 2020 heatwave.

The highest heat projected for Los Angeles during this century include 118˚ in Downtown LA, 115˚ in Hollywood 113˚ at the UCLA campus. Temps in the 110s˚ will happen more often, beginning in the 2040s and onward. Places like Woodland Hills have already achieved extremely high temps that scientists weren’t expecting until the 2080s.

Current: Q1 2023

Cal-Adapt. (2018). [Number of Extreme Heat Days for 6×6 km Grid Cell (34.15625, -118.71875) RCP 8.5, Global Climate Models HadGEM2-ES, CNRM-CM5, CanESM2, MIROC5]. Cal-Adapt website developed by University of California at Berkeley’s Geospatial Innovation Facility under contract with the California Energy Commission. Retrieved [15 August 2021], from https://cal-adapt.org/tools/extreme-heat/

Pierce, D. W., J. F. Kalansky, and D. R. Cayan, (Scripps Institution of Oceanography) 2018. Climate, Drought, and Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the Fourth California Climate Assessment. California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, California Energy Commission. Publication Number: CNRA-CEC-2018-006.

National Weather Service (NWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Data for Los Angeles (USC Downtown campus), 1981 – 2010 averages   

During a heatwave in September 2018, Downtown LA had its highest temp so far: 113.˚ Compare this to the 82˚ that is Downtown LA’s usual July high temp.

Current: Q1 2023

National Weather Service (NWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Data for Los Angeles (USC Downtown campus), 1981 – 2010 averages   

Note: Daily High Temps (aka Daytime High Temps) are the highest temp reached on a given day, usually occurring in the late afternoon. 

2.2 See how quickly Los Angeles’s climate is changing.

2.2.1 Los Angeles is trending quickly toward much longer, ever scorchier Summers.

The 2020s – 2040s & 2070s – 2090s timelines here show LA’s emerging new heat season. Atmospheric scientists are calling this extended period of high heat a “Super Summer.” This is calculated from the RCP 8.5 emissions scenario (“business as usual” /  “growing pace,” where emissions continue to rise strongly through 2050 and plateau around 2099.

In the 2070s, 2080s, and 2090s, usual daily high temps during LA’s new Super Summer will range from the 90˚s to the high 110s.˚ 

Away from LA’s Pacific Coast, heat is becoming more extreme, coming more often, and lasting longer.

In recent decades, inland valleys of the LA region have been reaching temps above 90˚ during two months of the year. In the 2070s thru the 2090s, Los Angeles will have daily high temps above 90˚ during five months of the year.

Heatwaves are arriving earlier in the Summer and persisting further into the Fall. What used to be one or two occasionally hot days is often now a three or four day heatwave. Late-Summer / early Fall heat waves are merging together for several months of nearly uninterrupted high heat. As time goes on, heatwaves will be considered usual weather.

Current: Q1 2023

Cal-Adapt. (2018). [Number of Extreme Heat Days for 6×6 km grid cell (34.03125, -118.21875) RCP 8.5, Global Climate Models HadGEM2-ES, CNRM-CM5, CanESM2, MIROC5]. Cal-Adapt website developed by University of California at Berkeley’s Geospatial Innovation Facility under contract with the California Energy Commission. Retrieved [15 Aug 2021], from https://cal-adapt.org/tools/extreme-heat/

Livneh et al, (2015) A spatially comprehensive, hydrometeorological data set for Mexico, the U.S., and Southern Canada 1950–2013. Scientific Data, 2(1). doi:10.1038/sdata.2015.42

Pierce, D. W., J. F. Kalansky, and D. R. Cayan, (Scripps Institution of Oceanography) 2018. Climate, Drought, and Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the Fourth California Climate Assessment. California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, California Energy Commission. Publication Number: CNRA-CEC-2018-006.

a huge crowd of joyous people out in the bright sun, waving at the camera

We’ll change when we do stuff: In the coming decades, community events like this late-September run/walk will have to be scheduled around LA’s ever-lengthening heatwave season. Or folks may want to walk/run after midnight, when temps are more exercise-friendly. Photo by Homeboy 5K.

2.2.2 LA has already been getting warmer. Now it’ll be getting hotter. And hotter.

This is LA heating up: Los Angeles’ annual average high temp is steadily rising. At the current rate of carbon emissions and atmospheric warming, the annual high temp in LA will go past 100˚ sometime in the 2100s. Note these “average annual temps” are determined not only from the high temps each day in the summer, but also during winter months.

​To see long-term trends in the changing atmosphere, and to account for the variability of weather from year to year, atmospheric scientists prefer looking at climate data over a 30-year span. But here, even at 10-year intervals, a steady warming trend blanketed the LA area. Temps in Los Angeles have already been and will keep on rising.

Current: Q4 2023

Cal-Adapt. (2018). [Number of Extreme Heat Days for Los Angeles County RCP 8.5 & RCP 4.5, Global Climate Models HadGEM2-ES, CNRM-CM5, CanESM2, MIROC5]. Cal-Adapt website developed by University of California at Berkeley’s Geospatial Innovation Facility under contract with the California Energy Commission. Retrieved [15 Aug 2021], from https://cal-adapt.org/tools/extreme-heat/

Livneh et al, (2015) A spatially comprehensive, hydrometeorological data set for Mexico, the U.S., and Southern Canada 1950–2013. Scientific Data, 2(1). doi:10.1038/sdata.2015.42

Pierce, D. W., J. F. Kalansky, and D. R. Cayan, (Scripps Institution of Oceanography) 2018. Climate, Drought, and Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the Fourth California Climate Assessment. California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, California Energy Commission. Publication Number: CNRA-CEC-2018-006.

2.2.3 LA’s easygoing seasonal rain pattern is changing into a frustrating pendulum of moisture extremes.

kids in raincoats playing with a shopping cart in a flooded parking lot

So far, rainfall in Los Angeles is not changing much in terms of amount, but in when and how it rains. 

Already, Angelinos are experiencing lengthy droughts partially extinguished by waves of brutal rainstorms. All the rain that would have fallen on Los Angeles over the last several months (or even several years) finally comes – within a very intense several days.

Current: Q4 2023

Swain, D. L., B. Langenbrunner, J. D. Neelin, and A. Hall, “Increasing precipitation volatility in 21st-century-California,” Nature Climate Change, doi: 10.1038/s41558-018-0140-y, 2018.

Photo: Associated Press

2.3 Something is making the climate in Los Angeles change differently in some parts of the city than others.

​The usual weather (climate) across the sprawling Los Angeles landscape is like real estate; it’s all about location.

LA’s number of hot days each year depends on how close one is to the ocean coast, or to the inland desert. Or, whether you’re up in the hills or down in the Valley. Differences in geography, even just within the city limits, makes a big difference in how warm it gets and for how long.

The cold Pacific Ocean water cools the atmosphere above it – including the air several miles inland from the coast. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is situated on the coast, so temps go past 90˚ only a few days each year. LAX will stay relatively cool (compared to inland parts of LA) most of the time until the 2050s.

The San Fernando Valley is blocked by hills and sits well enough inland that it hardly benefits from the ocean’s cooling influence.  Summer temps here tend to run several degrees warmer than other parts of the city, and people experience much more time in warmth.

By the 2050s, under the “Growing Pace” carbon emissions scenario, Northridge’s number of days each year with temps over 90˚ will double from those of the 1990s – from 64 days to 127 days. 

Hollywood doesn’t get quite as baked as the San Fernando Valley, but it’s increasing number of hot days is likewise surging. Two weeks above 90˚ now, four weeks in the 2050s, and two months in the 2090s …this is a quadrupling of hot days each year within the period of an average person’s lifetime. 

Cal-Adapt. (2018). [Number of Extreme Heat Days for 6×6 km grid cells (LAX: 33.96875, -118.40625), (Woodland Hills: 34.15625, -118.59375), (Hollywood: 34.09375, -118.34375) RCP 8.5 & RCP 4.5, Global Climate Models HadGEM2-ES, CNRM-CM5, CanESM2, MIROC5]. Cal-Adapt website developed by University of California at Berkeley’s Geospatial Innovation Facility under contract with the California Energy Commission. Retrieved [15 Aug 2021], from https://cal-adapt.org/tools/extreme-heat/

Current: Q1 2023

Livneh et al, (2015) A spatially comprehensive, hydrometeorological data set for Mexico, the U.S., and Southern Canada 1950–2013. Scientific Data, 2(1). doi:10.1038/sdata.2015.42

Pierce, D. W., J. F. Kalansky, and D. R. Cayan, (Scripps Institution of Oceanography) 2018. Climate, Drought, and Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the Fourth California Climate Assessment. California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, California Energy Commission. Publication Number: CNRA-CEC-2018-006.

This page is about how the changing climate will impact Los Angeles over the coming decades.

1.0 Wildfires will burn larger areas around Los Angeles.

2.0 LA’s water is drying up.

3.0 People in LA may experience food shortages.

1.0 Wildfires will burn bigger areas around LA thru the 2040s. Then, it will stop.

More wildfires will scorch the LA region, then, a few decades from now, there will be a big decrease. Southern California will have a larger number of wildfires and up to 75% more burned area by the 2040s, 50s, and 60s from warming and drying caused by the currently growing pace of carbon emissions. 

By the 2070s, 80s and 90s, the already burnt areas of previous fires and the still warming temps will reduce the overall amount of vegetation necessary to fuel wildfires. Much of what was burnable land will essentially be “desertified,” and not prone to wildfire. Nor supportive of the current wildlife.

Current: Q1 2023

Bedsworth, Louise, Dan Cayan, Guido, Franco, Leah Fisher, Sonya Ziaja. (California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, California Energy Commission, California Public Utilities Commission). 2018. Statewide Summary Report. California’s Fourth ClimateChange Assessment. Publication number: SUMCCCA4-2018-013.

Hall, Alex, Neil Berg, Katharine Reich. (University of California, Los Angeles). 2018. Los Angeles Summary Report. California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment. Publication number: SUM-CCCA4-2018-007.

Photo: Stuart Palley. Whole neighborhoods burned in a San Fernando Valley firestorm during the hot, tinder dry Fall of 2019.

2.0 LA’s long-time water sources are drying up

Aerial view of Mono Lake at the foot of the Sierra Mountains. photo

In the western United States, the warming climate is causing longer, more severe droughts. Droughts cause less snowfall in the Sierra Mountains – LA’s biggest source of water. Less snowfall means less melting snow from the mountains to the rivers and reservoirs and to people. ​

Graphic showing one thing, leading to another thing, to another thing, and so on, and so on, and so on.

Because Los Angeles depends on mountain snowpack for most of its hydration, local water officials are concerned about how the City will sustain a reliable quantity of water for its millions of residents. ​Los Angeles gets much of its water supply from the streams that flow from the Sierra Mountains to Mono Lake. The streams are diverted into an aqueduct (water pipe) that brings the water 350 miles to Los Angeles. The light colored rock and sand shows that the lake is becoming shallow. Less mountain snow means there is less lake. When snowpack dwindles, water officials have to tap more groundwater, which also declines from water use during drought. During California’s extended dry periods, little or no rain falls on the ground to trickle down to refill underground aquifers.​

In its Resiliency Plan, the City of Los Angeles says it will turn to stormwater  –  from rain.  But the Southern California climate is trending toward extra-long totally-rainless droughts. Extreme, drought-ending rainstorms provide relief only upon atmospheric whim – it can be many months or years between rainstorms sufficient enough to reliably hydrate LA’s millions of residents. 

Current: Q1 2023

Bedsworth, Louise, Dan Cayan, Guido, Franco, Leah Fisher, Sonya Ziaja. (California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, California Energy Commission, California Public Utilities Commission). 2018. Statewide Summary Report. California’s Fourth ClimateChange Assessment. Publication number: SUMCCCA4-2018-013.

Hall, Alex, Neil Berg, Katharine Reich. (University of California, Los Angeles). 2018. Los Angeles Summary Report. California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment. Publication number: SUM-CCCA4-2018-007.

Garcetti, Eric. Resilient Los Angeles, 2018. City of Los Angels, Office of the Mayor. www.lamayor.org/Resilience retrieved 02 Sept 21

Photo: Mono Lake Committee.

3.0 People in Los Angeles may experience food shortages

Crops in California's Central Valley dried out and dead before harvest. photo

Exceptional droughts are ahead. People in Los Angeles (and most of the western United States) will very likely experience a multi-decade, exceptionally severe drought sometime after the 2040s.

Los Angeles gets much of its food supply from what grows in the soil of California’s Central Valley. The Central Valley will be having much longer, much hotter droughts that bake the beneficial microbiome of the soil, making it expensive or impossible to grow food. By the 2070s, the Central Valley’s soil will not be able to consistently grow food. Likewise, other U.S. food-source regions like the U.S. Midwest will be disrupted by exceptional drought.

LA people need to consider where they will source their food in the coming decades. Will Los Angeles have enough floor space for indoor agriculture? For lack of space, cows don’t seem to be part of LA’s future. Will locally-grown food be enough to feed millions of Angelinos?

Current: Q1 2023

Bedsworth, Louise, Dan Cayan, Guido, Franco, Leah Fisher, Sonya Ziaja. (California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, California Energy Commission, California Public Utilities Commission). 2018. Statewide Summary Report. California’s Fourth ClimateChange Assessment. Publication number: SUMCCCA4-2018-013.

Hall, Alex, Neil Berg, Katharine Reich. (University of California, Los Angeles). 2018. Los Angeles
Summary Report. California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment. Publication number: SUM-CCCA4-2018-007.

Photo: Reuters / John Sommers II.

1.0 California’ Energy Transition: Vehicles

Tracking California’s big switch to plug-in vehicles (first three months of 2021)

In Los Angeles, cars, suvs, trucks, busses, and motorcycles are the City’s biggest spewers of climate-damaging carbon dioxide. Keep in mind that carbon emissions everywhere must be drastically reduced by the 2030s to prevent extreme damage to the climate. So think about a new 2022 gas vehicle burning carbon to the atmosphere well into the 2030s. California has a target of ending new internal-combustion vehicle sales by 2035.  Those final gas vehicles could be emitting carbon into the 2050s.

Each year, an average-use all-electric car can prevent up to 15 tons of carbon dioxide from heating the atmosphere. Here, LocalClimate.org tracks numbers related to California’s great transition to electric vehicles. City-specific vehicle info is not available, so these numbers are state level.

Number of electric vehicles in LA (2022): 64,000

The Top Selling Plug-in Vehicle in California

Tesla Model Y

15,265 sold in the first three months of 2021

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

Next top sellers in Los Angeles during the first three months of 2021:

2) Tesla Model 3

3) Chevy Volt EV

Plug-in Vehicles sold recently in LA: 59,000

During the first three months of 2021, almost one out of 10 vehicles sold (59,000+) in California were plug-in. This includes all makes & models of plug-in (not hybrid) electric vehicles.

Number of public electric vehicle charge stations currently (2021) in Los Angeles

2,963

Electric charging stations –the analogue of traditional gas stations – are popping up in more and more LA locations. As of October 2019, there were 2,963 EV public charge stations were up and operating within Los Angeles city limits. By way of LA’s Green New Deal Plan, 500 more charging stations will be installed by 2025.

There were 3,000 public chargers in California during Q1, bringing statewide totals to 74,443 chargers.

Number of Electric Motorcycles in Los Angeles.

A motorcyclist leans into a curve in the highway.

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

Electric motorcycles are here. They’re powerful yet spew absolutely nothing. At $30,000 per bike, Harley Davidson’s 2020 LiveWire electric motorcycle will become affordable as sales increase. LiveWire takes about an hour to charge (on a public charger) for a powerful, silent ride of 140 city miles. In 2020, Harley was set to deliver 160 electric motorcycles to seven Los Angeles-area dealerships. Harley is making more charging stations available in Los Angeles and across the country.

A casual early consensus of long-time Harley riders is that they love the handling and acceleration (0 to 60 in 3 seconds), but aren’t so sure about the machine’s near-silence.

Current: Q1 2023

Industry report: California Green Vehicle Report Q3, 2019, California New Car Dealers Assn. https://www.cncda.org/news/?category=green-vehicle-report

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

Industry reports: Stephen Edelstein, “Plug-in Models Nearing 1 of 10 New Vehicle Sales in California” Green Car Reports May 7 2021. www.greencarreports.com/news/1132176_plug-in-models-nearing-1-of-10-new-vehicle-sales-in-california

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/

photo: RiderMagazine.com

2.0 Los Angles’ Energy Transition: Buildings

Next to vehicle emissions, buildings are the next largest carbon emitters in Los Angeles.

2.1 Los Angeles’ 1,170 schools are on track to go 100% electric by 2040. Logistically, “this is like going to Mars.”

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.

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 2021, 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.

Current: Q1 2023

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

2.2 Solarized homes by neighborly celebrities.

Edward Norton looking at you directly in the camera

A non-profit partnership electrified dozens of LA family homes with solar panels. It’s success could motivate new endeavors, like a sequel. Actor Edward Norton (American History X, Fight Club, Motherless Brooklyn) made solar power available to LA residents with his now-defunct Solar Neighbors Program. Norton arranged with a major solar panel manufacturer to install a solar system for a family’s home each time a participating celeb installed solar panels on their own home. 

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

Between 2002 and 2007, solar workers installed photovoltaic panels on the rooftops of over 100 families. Each family’s solarized home saved them paychecks worth of money, and put many tons less carbon into the warming atmosphere. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Julia-Roberts-LA-solar-home.jpeg

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

Current: Q1 2023

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)

This page is about how LA’s electric utility (LA Power) is upgrading its energy sourcing, infrastructure, and technology – under pressure of the atmosphere heating up and ruining everything.

1. LA’s Electricity from Coal and Gas

1.1 Half of LA’s electricity comes from carbon-fired power plants.

1.2 LA will close (and open) gas-fired power plants.

2. Really? Can’t LA just stop burning things?

Electric utility aka: People and businesses within Los Angeles city limits buy their electricity from the City of Los Angeles’ Department of Water and Power, acronymed LADWP, but here referred to as LA Power.

1. LA’s Electricity from Coal and Gas

In Los Angeles, people’s electric service comes from the City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LA Power). LA Power’s newest coal-fired power plants have been spewing carbon smoke since the 1980s and still have several decades of scheduled operation. LA Power’s carbon plan (see Climate in LA – City Leaders) mandates that all of LA Power’s carbon-fired power plants be shut down by 2045.

1.1 Before 2030, LA Power will extinguish 3 of 10 of its gas-fired power plants, but they’ll also ignite a monster-sized new one.

This is LA's Harbor Power Plant burning methane gas to make electricity.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

“This is the beginning of the end of natural gas in Los Angeles.” – Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

While LA Power is starting up its huge new Intermountain Gas-Fired Power Plant in Utah, it will shut-down of 3 of 10 of its smaller, local gas-fired power plants.

Scattergood Gas-Fired Power Plant will be TURNED OFF soon, in 2024

Haynes and Harbor Gas-Fired Power Plants won’t be TURNED OFF until 2029

Added up together, the carbon these three facilities spew is about 172 million pounds each day. The electricity they make, enough to power 375,000 homes / up to 1.3 million people, will be replaced by the big new solar farms sprouting up outside LA.

Photo: Harbor Gas-Fired Power Plant

Bernadette Del Chiaro

“This [scheduled closure of 3 gas-fire power plants] is nothing short of historic. Today’s advanced solar and energy storage technologies can do an even better job of powering our lives.” – Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar and Storage Association, February 12, 2019

Mel Levine

“LADWP’s local generation and transmission system has served the City well for over a century, but it’s time to reimagine and reconfigure it so that … we can transition away from reliance on natural gas as quickly as possible.” – Mel Levine, LA Power Board President, February 12, 2019

Current: Q1 2023

City Govt Press Release: City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Office. LAmayor.org/mayor-garcetti-ladwp-will-phase-out-natural-gas-operations-three-power-plants. Feb 19, 2019 lamayor.org/mayor-garcetti-ladwp-will-phase-out-natural-gas-operations-three-power-plants

Photos: Mel Levine – Terry Ashe, Getty Images; Angela Johnson Meszaros – Ana Mascarena

1.2 LA’s biggest power plant burns mountains of coal every day. Soon, its replacement will burn a sea of gas – for the next 25 years.

Photo of a worker in a hardhat standing on a platform high above the desert pointing at a colossal smokestack spewing heat-gasses high into the atmosphere.

In 2020, LA Power is making 49 percent of its electricity from power plants that burn coal and gas. LA’s biggest single source of electricity is its Intermountain Coal-Fired Power Plant, a ginormous (1,800 megawatts) electricity-maker way out (650 miles away) in the middle of Utah. Coal is the dirtiest source of carbon – when burned, it releases more carbon into the atmosphere than any other fuel.

LA’s Intermountain Power Plant (coal fired) will stop burning in 2025.

LA Power plans to turn off its Intermountain Coal-Fired Power Plant in 2025, having recently replaced it with the newly-built Intermountain Gas-Fired Power Plant, scheduled to switch on in 2023 and continue to burn gas and spewing carbon, 24/7 all the way until 2045 – when it is no longer legal to do so. California law mandates that by 2045, 100% of the state’s electricity be made only from carbon-free, climate-neutral sources – not coal or gas. The City of Los Angeles has adopted the same 2045 mandate.

LA’s Intermountain Power Plant (methane gas fired) will begin burning in 2023 and continue thru 2045.

An aerial view of the Intermountain Coal-Fired Power Plant, with hot carbon smoke blasting out of its 700 foot tall smokestack.

For 2045 and beyond, LA Power says it wants to convert the Intermountain Gas-Fired Power Plant to become the Intermountain Hydrogen-Fired Power Plant. Hydrogen burns clean, without making climate-heating smoke. But like coal and gas, hydrogen-fired electricity is not climate neutral. The manufacture of hydrogen gas requires, ironically, the combustion of large amounts of gas.

Note that 2045 is within the time range (between 2043 and 2053) when researchers say LA’s Mediterranean climate will have completely, permanently changed over to some new, much different climate.

The new Intermountain Gas-Fired Power Plant will be LA’s Biggest Climate-Heater:

Generating Capacity: 1,200 Megawatts (twice as much as a typical large coal-fired power plant). Batteries: None. This plant’s colossus methane gas burners must run at high capacity, 24/7.

Electricity enough for 850,000 homes / up to 3,200,000 million people) Carbon Spew: 870,000 tons each year / 2,384 tons each day

Location: Delta, Utah, 650 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Energy Technology: Thermal Combustion; Owner: Intermountain Power Agency. Operator: City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LA Power); Electric Utilities: LA Power and several LA County municipalities. Power Contract: from 2023 to 2045.

Current: Q1 2023

Market Report: Intermountain Power to shut Utah coal plant in 2025 by Kelly Andrejasich S & P Global Market Intelligence, May 24, 2017. spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/trending/w2taftmxcpiudwnogpalyw2

Industry News: Natural gas plant replacing Los Angeles coal power to be 100% hydrogen by 2045: LADWP by Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive, 12/12/2019. Utilitydive.com/news/natural-gas-plant-replacing-los-angeles-coal-power-to-be-100-hydrogen-by-2/568918/

Local Newspaper: Los Angeles to close 3 power plants in aggressive move toward green energy by Martin Wisckol, Orange County Register, February 12, 2019 dailynews.com/2019/02/12/los-angeles-to-close-3-power-plants-in-aggressive-move-toward-green-energy/

Local Newspaper: Los Angeles is finally ditching coal — and replacing it with another polluting fuel by Sammy Roth, Los Angeles Times. July 19, 2019 LaTimes.com/business/la-fi-utah-coal-los-angeles-climate-20190711-story.

Interesting: Intermountain’s smokestack is 700 feet tall. Regulations require utility-size facilities to keep smoke away from the ground, where people live. So the smoke gets blown higher in the atmosphere, where it can be more quickly carried away… to the whole rest of the atmosphere. Photo: Steve Griffin, Salt Lake Tribune

Angela Johnson Meszaros

“These power plant closures are an important milestone, and a lot remains to be done.” – Angela Johnson Meszaros, Earthjustice LA

This page is about how LA’s city leaders are dealing with climate change.

1.0 Oil drilling? LA’s Climate Performance grade

2.0 City of LA is making good progress on climate.

1.0 This mayor is taking climate change very seriously and Los Angeles gets a good grade on climate performance

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti sitting at a table, talking to a group of businesspeople

The City of Los Angeles, mayored by Eric Garcetti, is starting to deliver local-scale public-works projects city that residents will need to survive and thrive under a more challenging climate.

The City of Los Angeles wants to become a great example in climate adaptation & mitigation – in the United States and among World Cities. It’s well along that path. But LA’s got a gooey carbon problem underneath.

1.1 That’s not photoshopped. It’s 2021 and thousands of oil rigs suck oil within Los Angeles city limits.

An oil rig looks out-of-place on an open lot in a suburban subdivision.

When you think of oil rigs pumping raw oil from the earth, you might see the plains of Texas or Oklahoma. But oil is also being pumped from underneath the U.S.’s second-largest city. When LA was a town of 50,000 in the 1890s. Land speculators discovered oil underneath Beverly Hills. Soon after, oil companies were pumping oil from underneath large areas of Los Angeles.

Over the years oil producers got the City of Los Angeles to approve long-term contracts, and the city grew around the oil rigs. Now, in 2021, within LA’s city limits, over 3,000 oil rigs churn away, day and night, in LA’s residential subdivisions, behind shopping centers, and next to schools. The City says it cannot cancel the long-term oil company contracts for fear of being sued for billions of dollars in lost business. Los Angeles is ambitious about cutting carbon and also a sizable source of oil that will be burned and heat the atmosphere.

Current: Q1 2023

Chiland, Elijah. Angelenos have been living alongside the oil business since 1892. Nov 4, 2019 LACurbed. LA.Curbed.com/maps/oil-los-angeles-drill-sites-offshore

Jaffe, Mat. Above the Surface and Below, L.A. Is Still an Oil Town. Los Angeles Magazine. Feb 5, 2018 lamag.com/citythinkblog/surface-l-still-oil-town/

photo: David McNew/Getty Images

1.2 City of Los Angeles gets a C grade on climate. Which is good in 2021, at the beginning of LA’s local energy transition.

Check your local government’s progress on cutting carbon and adapting to a new climate. The local climate performance grade is an informal criteria-based grade made by local residents. The grade is an indicator of how far along the municipality is on its rapid energy transition.

Climate performance on a continuum from no climate planning activity at all, to a well-executed policy/project mix that –

adapts public infrastructure to a harsher climate.

upgrades City assets to zero-carbon electricity.

easifies people’s ability to use clean electricity and drive electric vehicles.

The City of Los Angeles gets a grade of C because its initiated local climate policies and projects and showing smooth progress. Kindly going forward, the City’s climate grade cannot improve while oil wells pump in the city limits.

2.0 Los Angeles’ Climate Plans, Policies, and Projects

2.1 Los Angeles gives people natural air conditioners (trees) to take home and grow.

An arborist shows children how to plant a tree. A mom and daughter pose with their two new trees. A boy is proud to have adopted his first tree.

This is how tens of thousands of shade trees get planted in Los Angeles each year! The City of Los Angeles Water & Power Department gives out shade trees at no cost to City residents. The City helps residents plant the trees, then checks in later to see how well the trees are doing. Volunteers in charge of the program say people love it.

Trees make the city feel cooler – by actually cooling the air. Tree leaves sweat tiny water droplets that evaporate into the air, providing a natural cooling effect. City neighborhoods with tree cover can feel up to 15 degrees cooler that an adjacent treeless neighborhood.

The City of Los Angeles holds tree adoption events all over town, with some people receiving up to seven trees, depending on their property size. A city spokesperson says, “We’ll literally deliver them to your door.” Per LA’s Climate Action Plan, Los Angeles will have 90,000 new trees planted by 2022.

Current: Q1 2023

Cityplants.org/our-programs retrieved 03 Sept 21

2.2 LA knows how to cool down a street, and potentially the whole city

Public Works crew pouring a heat-reflective coating onto a city street

This is a street pavement pilot project. Beginning in 2017, the City of Los Angeles has been experimenting with a special “cool pavement” on city streets to reduce excessive urban heat.  

Regular asphalt pavement absorbs the sun’s heat like a big thermal sponge; it’s dark color quickly holds onto heat. The white color of the new pavement coating reflects the sun’s heat away from the asphalt.

On summer afternoons, the dark surface of an LA street is toasty hot – usually in the range of 90˚ to 155.˚ More than half of LA’s city land area is covered with regular asphalt pavement, so 90˚ to 155˚ is literally the temperature of much of the city’s “floor.” Solar heat accumulates in the mass of the streets during the day, and radiates back into the already warm city air during the night.

Over the next decades, night time temps will get warm and even hot, so people will keep their air conditioning on thru the night. Until recently, people in LA had didn’t need AC. Now the City can keep the streets from getting so hot in the first place. In ongoing trials, the City found that cool pavement reduces air temps by up to 15.˚ At 85˚ you want to crank the air, but at 70˚ an window open makes sleeping a breeze. In 2022, the City will consider cool-coating roadways during regularly scheduled repavings. 

Current: Q1 2023

Cool LA neighborhoods Pilot Project, Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services. https://streetsla.lacity.org/cool-la-neighborhoods retrieved 01 Sept 21

Berg, Nate. The Radical Plan to Cool Down LA as the World Heats Up. 10 Aug 2017. gizmodo.com/the-radical-plan-to-cool-down-la-as-the-world-heats-up-1797711611 retrieved 01 Sept 21

Photos:  Los Angeles Public Works Dept. Bureau of Street Services; Mother Nature Network

2.3 Los Angeles has the best-lit roads ever. They’re easy on the eyes and even easier on the atmosphere.

LA's 415 freeway at night with its streetlights casting a yellow hue.
LA's 415 freeway at night with its streetlights casting a a natural-looking light

Before and after: LA’s old, energy-draining light bulbs gave LA roadways a spooky yellow color – and uneven light. The new low-energy light is calibrated to the the wavelength of natural sunlight.

This is a city street lights project. LA’s new LED lights use much less energy, which helps put off a climate apocalypse. The City of Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting is finding that its new LED streetlights provide better lighting, use much less electricity, and are much more affordable. 

The bottom line for the LA city taxpayers is nearly $9,000,000 in electric bill savings each year. LA’s new LED street lighting keeps almost 3.2 million tons of carbon, burnt to make electricity, from toasting the atmosphere.

Current: Q1 2023

Los Angeles’ Bureau of Street Lighting http://bsl.lacity.org/

2.4 The Los Angeles Climate Action Plan is part of the City’s Green New Deal

Cover page of Los Angeles'  Environment and Energy Plan.

LA’s “Green New Deal” document includes LA’s new Climate Action Plan. Started in 2019, the plan runs thru 2050. Over the next decade, the City of LA is looking to run mostly on clean energy. Solar and Wind power will supply 80% of all of LA’s energy needs, including the charging of electric vehicles, by 2036.

In 2019, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti’s City Sustainability Office published LA’s Green New Deal: Sustainable City Plan, which sets targets for the City and everyone to cut way, way back on carbon emissions. LA’s climate plan rolls out the relatively new concept, “All-Electric.”

All Electric Buildings: The City’s Green New Deal requires all new buildings and big renovations to be “All-Electric.” All-Electric buildings are residential, commercial, or industrial structures that produce their own electricity on site, mainly from solar photovoltaics. By 2030, all new buildings in the city will be built to be completely free of energy made from carbon fuels. ​By 2050, all existing buildings in the city will be carbon free. ​

All-Electric Power Grid: The City of LA’s Power Department (LA Power) is building an all-electric, zero-carbon power grid. An all-electric power grid is the vast regional network of electric lines, transformers, battery arrays, and algorithms that will bring you only solar and wind-made electricity. LA’s all-electric power grid is being designed specifically to bridge the timing solar and wind energy production with the timing of people’s need for electricity. Solar and wind electricity, through this modern grid, will be available 24 hours a day, every day.

Current: Q1 2023

City of Los Angeles Sustainability Office lamayor.org/Sustainability

2.5 Los Angeles requires solar on new home construction

These are new homes in LA, required by local ordinance (2025) that are 50% energy self-sufficient.

This is about carbon reduction through local energy policy for housing. Residential solar power has traditionally been an ambition of property owners. Now bellwether Los Angeles, is mainstreaming residential solar even further via local building regs.

In many cities a giant subdivision industry can rebuff calls to include solar in new construction. But in Los Angeles, leadership decided to require all new housing to run partly on self-made solar electricity.

This page is about how LA’s electric utility (LA Power) is upgrading its energy sourcing, infrastructure, and technology to reach 100% clean electricity by sometime very soon.

1.0 LA is getting started on solar electricity

1.1 The Biggest Rooftop Solar Farm in Los Angeles

1.2 The New Solar Farms Electrifying LA

1.0 Los Angeles is making a great start on solar electricity

1.1 The biggest solar farm within LA city limits covers otherwise unused industrial rooftops

Photo of LA Mayor Eric Garcetti standing on a solar panel and giving the thumbs up.

Westmont Rooftop Solar Farm started making electricity for LA in 2017. Westmont is currently the largest solar power plant within LA city limits, and one of the largest city-sited solar farms in the world. The 2 million square foot rooftop (38 football fields) is near the Port of Los Angeles. It makes enough electricity for 5,000 homes and prevents the carbon emission equivalent of 3,200 gasoline vehicles.

There’s not much open land for solar in crowded LA’s, but there’s plenty of sprawling rooftops. The Westmont Distribution Center’s expansive rooftop solar farm effectively serves as a local power plant for the City. It’s about the size of the giant Apple Headquarters solar roof in Cupertino, CA. The project was built, in part, by 50 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in a local workforce development program.

Westmont’s Solar Rooftop is part of LA Power’s “feed-in” program. Owners of buildings with solarized rooftops can sell (or “feed in”) their locally-made electricity to LA Power’s electric grid. PermaCity Solar, Inc. built the Westmont solar farm in 2017. The company’s Chief Executive, Jonathan Port says “The landowner rents out the roof and the city buys the renewable power.”

Business News: Solar Business Shines Up Resume With Installation: PermaCity turns on powerful rooftop generating project in L.A. by Howard Fine, Los Angeles Business Journal June 30, 2017. LAbusinessjournal.com/news/2017/jun/30/permacity-solar-installation-los-angeles/

Current: Q1 2023

Local news site: San Pedro boasts world’s most powerful rooftop solar generating project, DailyBreeze.com July 2, 2017 DailyBreeze.com/ 2017/07/02/ san-pedro-boasts-worlds-most-powerful-rooftop-solar-generating-project/

Neighborhood Blog: 50,000 panels spread across 2 million square feet by Elijah Chiland, Curbed los Angeles, Jun 26, 2017 LA Curbed.com/2017/6/26/15875274/la-solar-power-rooftop-san-pedro-dwp

Note: Units of Measure: “Megawatts,” abbreved “MW,” is a unit of measure for the amount of electricity a power plant can produce, and the amount of electricity required by an entire city. For example, a typical coal plant is about 600 MW in size. A 300 MW solar farm makes makes about half the electricity of a typical coal plant. A 1,200 MW solar farm makes about twice the electricity of a typical coal plant.

1.2 Meet Los Angeles’ new solar farms

1.2.1 This solar power plant is about to electrify Los Angeles on cloudy days, and at night.

“This project will bridge the gap between day and night and help meet our [LA’s] aggressive climate change goals.” – Martin Adams, General Manager, LA Power (Nov 6, 2019)

Eland Solar + Storage Center will start serving Los Angeles in 2023 and stay in operation until at least 2048. It’s located on 2,650 acres 70 miles north of Los Angeles. The City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and the City of Glendale Department of Water and Power will electrify 283,000 households and eliminate the carbon equivalent of 149,000 gasoline cars.

Batteries included. Until the mid 2010s, fossil-fuel enthusiasts criticized solar electricity for being available only while the sun shines. When it starts up in late 2023, Eland Solar+Storage Center will be one of the first big solar farms in the U.S. to store solar electricity on-site. Eland Solar Center’s utility-sized batteries will initially be able to supply 6% of all of LA’s electric needs for 4 hours each night. By the 2040s, Eland together with other desert-based solar farms will have enough battery capacity to energize Los Angeles all night long, and all-day on rare cloudy days. Now that solar farms come with batteries included, carbon fire power plants will no longer be needed.

Current: Q1 2023

National Newspaper: Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles OKs a deal for record-cheap solar power and battery storage. by Sammy Roth, Sep. 10, 2019. latimes.com/environment/story/2019-09-10/ladwp-votes-on-eland-solar-contract

Industry News: Solar BuilderMag.com. Los Angeles signs on for lowest combined solar + storage prices on record, by Chris Crowell, Nov 7, 2019 SolarBuilderMag.com/financing/los-angeles-signs-on-for-lowest-combined-solar-storage-prices-on-record-with-8minute

Media Release: Mayor Garcetti Celebrates Final Approval of Largest Solar and Energy Storage Project in America. November 6, 2019. City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, LAcity.org/highlights/mayor-garcetti-celebrates-final-approval-largest-solar-and-energy-storage-project-america

Photo: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times. Climate activists celebrate after LA Power approved a contract with the operators of Eland Solar & Storage Center.

1.2.2 Desert Sunlight Solar Farm makes the electricity LA needs when everyone’s got their AC on.

Aerial photo of Desert Sunlight Solar Farm and the surrounding Mojave Desert

Desert Sunlight Solar Farm started making electricity for Los Angels in 2015 and will operate until at least 2040. Desert Sunlight sits on 3,840 acres 236 miles east of the city and makes enough electricity for 160,000 households, preventing the spew equivalent of 60,000 gasoline cars.

Current: Q1 2023

Govt agency site: California Energy Commission. California Clean Energy Tour: Desert Sunlight Solar Farm. Energy.ca.gov/tour/desertsunlight/

Tech blog: 550 MW Desert Sunlight Solar Farm In California Now Online by James Ayer. Clean Technica. cleantechnica.com/2015/02/10/550-mw-desert-sunlight-solar-farm-california-now-online/

Company site: First Solar. Desert Sunlight Solar Farm. firstsolar.com/en/Resources/Projects/Desert-Sunlight-Solar-Farm

1.2.3 LA’s Beacon Solar Farm didn’t need to ruin precious desert habitat.

Beacon Solar Farm

Beacon Solar Farm started service in 2017 and will operate until at least 2042. Beacon is situated on 2,500 acres of a former alfalfa farm 70 miles north of LA. Beacon makes enough electricity for 103,000 households and eliminates the carbon emission equivalent of 67,000 gasoline cars.

Current: Q1 2023

Think Tank Site: Beacon of Light: A Solar Plant shines in the Desert, by Carol Tucker, Western Energy Institute, 2019. digital.apogee-mg.com/publication/?i=599709&article_id=3420917&view=articleBrowser&ver=html5

1.2.4 Springbok Solar Farm comes with batteries

Springbok Solar Farm started making electricity for City of Los Angeles Water and Power in 2016, and will operate until at least 2041. It sits on 1,400 acres 70 miles north of LA. Springbok makes enough electricity for 152,000 households and prevents the carbon emissions equivalent of 126,000 gasoline cars.

Current: Q1 2023

Market Report: Falling US solar-plus-storage prices start to level as batteries supersize, by Garrett Hering, Feb 20 2020. S&P Global. spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/latest-news-headlines/falling-us-solar-plus-storage-prices-start-to-level-as-batteries-supersize-56971432

Photo: Aerial view of Springbok Solar Farm, by Swinerton Renewable Energy

1.2.5 Moapa Paiute Solar Park is near Las Vegas, but makes electricity for Los Angeles.

Moapa Paiute Solar Park started making electricity for Los Angeles Dept of Water & Power in 2017, and will operate until at least 2042. It’s situated on 2,000 acres of Moapa Southern Paiute land, 319 miles from Los Angeles (near Las Vegas actually). Moapa Paiute Solar Park makes enough electricity for 111,000 homes and prevents the carbon emission equivalent to 73,000 gasoline cars;

Current: Q1 2023

Project Overview: Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Park. First Solar, Inc. 2018. firstsolar.com/en-IN/Resources/Projects/Moapa-Southern-Paiute-Solar-Park

Industry News: Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project, The First Solar Farm On Tribal Land, Is Now Online, by Steve Hanley, Cleantechnica, March 22, 2017 Cleantechnica.com/2017/03/22/moapa-southern-paiute-solar-project-first-solar-farm-tribal-land-now-online/

This page is about what LA elected officials are saying and doing about the climate.

1.0 LA city councilors talking about climate

1.1 LA City Councilor Nury Martinez

1.2 LA City Councilor Paul Koretz

2.0 Los Angeles politician in Sacramento

2.1 State Senator Kevin DeLeon

2.2 State Assemblyperson Laura Friedman

3.0 Los Angeles politicians in Washington DC

3.1 U.S. Congressperson Karen Bass

1. Los Angeles city councilors talking about climate

1.1 LA City Councilor Nury Martinez says climate solutions are about neighborhoods

Nuri Martinez

“The path to a clean energy future begins and ends in our frontline communities. It’s our communities that have the solutions and commitment to protect the environment. Neighborhoods like Pacoima, South LA, and Wilmington, will be the places where solutions will come from, where solutions will be implemented, and where residents will see the immediate benefit.” – Martinez’s Feb 29, 2019 comments about LA’s gas power plant closures.

Current: Q1 2023

photo: Nury Martinez (D) president of the Los Angeles City Council (LA neighborhoods: Van Nuys, Lake Balboa, Sun Valley, Panorama City, Arleta, North Hollywood, North Hills East)

Neighborhood Newspaper: LA Sentinel. LA Councilwoman Nury Martinez Introduces Landmark Motion Calling for a Green New Deal in the City of Los Angeles by Sentinel News Service, Feb 19, 2019. Sentinel.net/councilwoman-nury-martinez-introduces-landmark-motion-calling-for-a-green-new-deal-in-the-city-of-los-angeles.html

1.2 LA city councilor Paul Koretz is LA’s long-time climate guy.

a bespectacled middle-age man in a suit and tie speaking formally at a podium on the capitol steps. photo.

Climate change isn’t happening off in some unknown future, it is happening here, it’s happening now, it’s happening to us, to real people, in real time, and we must do absolutely everything in our power to stop it while we still can.”  – Koretz’s May 14, 2016 statement on city council approval of his “80% by 2050” goal.

Current: Q1 2023

photo: Paul Koretz (D), Los Angeles City Council (LA neighborhoods: Bel Air/Beverly Crest, Greater Wilshire, Mar Vista, Pico, Westside, Westwood) ​

Politician’s site: CouncilmemberPaulKoretz.com/policies/climate-change

Neighborhood site: ghnnc.org/2016/05/city-council-approves-80-by-2050-climate-target/

2. Los Angeles representatives to Sacramento

2.1 State Senator Kevin DeLeon wrote and won California’s clean energy law.

a man in suit and tie speaking with news reporters at a convention hall. photo.

California took a huge leap in August 2018, with bicameral approval of The California Clean Energy Bill [AB 100].  State Senator Kevin de Leon authored and promoted bill. The core mandate of California’s new energy policy is to wean the state’s 48,000,000 people off carbon-fueled electricity as quickly as possible:

60% of electricity sold by power companies must be generated from carbon-free sources by 2030, and 100% of electricity sold by power companies must be generated from carbon-free sources by 2045.

California currently gets 32% of its electricity from carbon-free sources. DeLeon’s clean energy law was opposed by most of California’s big electricity producers. It was popular with 77% of California residents.

photo: Kevin de Leon (D) Los Angeles, California Senate (LA neighborhoods: Chinatown, Koreatown, Larchmont, Little Armenia, Little Tokyo, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake)

Major newspaper: sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article217397360.html 

Current: Q1 2023

News source: axios.com/ernest-moniz-california-new-clean-energy-bill-c5cc50f3-bc07-4a11-9d97-37cb7cf5b013.html

​Photos: Kevin de Leon, the National Clean Energy Summit

2.2 California legislator Laura Friedman makes energy affordable.

a woman in glasses and business jacket makes an important point before her colleagues in the state assembly

Laura Friedman pushed a bill through the California legislature, making residential solar permits more affordable.

With advancements in renewable energy sources, we’re reducing our dependence on fossil fuels every day, but we have to improve accessibility for consumers.”  Friedman’s May 30, 2017 statement on California’s approval of her energy policy AB 1414. 

In Oct 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Friedman’s bill that requires state’s huge transportation agency, Caltrans, to makes plans for reducing carbon emissions.

photo: Laura Friedman (D) Los Angeles, California State Assembly (LA neighborhoods: Hollywood Hills, East Hollywood, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Atwater Village) ​

Current: Q1 2023

Politician’s site: a43.asmdc.org/press-releases/asm-friedmans-clean-energy-bills-pass-assembly

Photos: Los Angeles Daily News; Assembly Democratic Caucus

3. Los Angeles representatives to Washington DC

3.1 U.S. Congressperson Karen Bass. Exactly!

a smiling woman in business attire and a microphone looking over at someone in the audience who made a funny remark. photo.

“Backing out of the Paris Climate Agreement is forfeiting our international leadership by adding our country’s name to the two-country list of Nicaragua and Syria as those that have declined to be a part of this landmark deal.”   – Bass’s June 1, 2017 statement on the U.S. President’s withdrawal from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

Current: Q1 2023

photo: Karen Bass (D) CA, U.S. House (LA neighborhoods: South LA, Crenshaw, Baldwin Hills, Miracle Mile, Century City, and West LA)

Politician’s site: bass.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/rep-bass-rips-president-trump-s-withdrawal-paris-climate-agreement

Photo: The Liberal OC

This page is about climate and energy education in Los Angeles, from grade school through grad school.

1.0 Universities in LA look at local climates.

1.1 UCLA Center for Climate Science studies local climate projections.

1.2 UCLA is offering an undergrad degree in Climate Science.

2.0 LA kids are learning about climate and energy.

2.1 LA high schools train students how to calculate energy.

2.2 Schools’ (K-12+) timely info about local climate learning goes here.

1. Universities in LA are researching local climate

In LA, university students are working alongside seasoned climate scientists to see ahead what the atmosphere has in store for local places. Here’s what’s going on in the climate space at LA colleges and universities:

1.1 UCLA Center for Climate Science studies local climate projections and impacts.

students in business attire outside an office building jumping for joy with big smiling faces. photo
Students walking outside the Climate Science building at UCLA on a calm sunny morning. photo

Scientists at UCLA’s Center for Climate Science are making climate change projections for local places. The Center produces two ongoing comprehensive planning studies that inform dozens of cities and entities in the LA Region: Climate Change in the Los Angeles Region and the Los Angeles Regional Climate Assessment. The Center works on critical, actionable projects, like its study of Los Angeles County’s electric grid and how it functions under extreme heat.

Current: Q1 2023

University site: ioes.ucla.edu/climate/

1.2 Now, UCLA is offering an undergrad degree in Climate Science.

Until 2018, climate research at a university was the domain of graduate / post-graduate study. ​ Now, at UCLA’s Department of Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences (AOS), a freshman can decide to major in Climate Science and get started working in a climate-related field. Students in this program become experts in climate adaptation planning and they learn how to work with leadership. Here’s the curriculum:

List of core and elected courses in climate science. graphic.

photos top: UCLA climate students after giving their climate change research to the California Governor. left to right: a newly minted B.S. of UCLA’s Climate Science program, a UCLA climate science student out in the field, a UCLA oceanic carbon research project, a UCLA candidates for the Pritzker Emerging Environmental Genius Award

Current: Q1 2023

University site: ioes.ucla.edu/climate/  

University site: atmos.ucla.edu/climate-science-major | atmos.ucla.edu/climate-science-major#courselist

2. LA kids are learning about climate and energy.

LA’s local schools – from K-12 – are growing centers of climate learning and activity. These kids will soon be the adults who deal with ever-worsening climate impacts.

2.1 LA high schools train students how to calculate a building’s energy usage.

A high school student in a bright yellow hard hat on the roof of her school using a device to measure the the energy usage of the building. photo.

LA high schools have a one-year Energy Auditor Training Program gets seniors nationally certified for the Building Analyst profession. Students show building managers how to cut energy costs and carbon emissions. Building analysts also help property owners know how to upgrade their facilities for the LA’s lengthening heat season.

This page is about all the great things LA’s climate orgs are doing.

1. Los Angeles Regional Collaborative is about climate planning

2. Regional Adapt LA coordinates coastal infrastructure

3. Path to Positive LA is about climate communication

4. Citizens’ Climate Lobby LA is good at media too

5. 350 Climate Action LA works on structural fixes

6. LA climate orgs’ news and events

7. Sunrise Movement LA mobilizes direct action.

8. LA’s local climate movement goes on climate strikes.

9. Climate Extinction LA gets media attention.

1. Los Angeles Regional Collaborative (LARC) is the hub of metro LA climate planning.

Cover of Greater LA's new climate Action Framework with pictures of the group's leaders

Los Angeles Regional Collaborative (LARC) coordinates climate planning and policy among the 88 cities of LA County.​ LARC assists on technical issues and helps local governments coordinate their climate policy and action plans.​

LARC’s science-based meta-planning document, A Greater Los Angeles Climate Action Framework covers strategies for energy, transportation, land use, water, public health, and coastal resources. LARC works from UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. Started in 2007

Current: Q1 2023

photo: LARC Executive Director Laurel Hunt, Faculty Director Stephanie Pincetl, and Climate Action Associate Danna Creager

Org site: LAregionalcollaborative.com

2. Regional Adapt LA helps cities plan for resilient infrastructure.

Three women sitting around a table at the public library reviewing new maps of LA's coast and talking about what critical infrastructure needs to be upgraded

Rising tides and coastal erosion associated with the changing climate are already causing critical infrastructure issues to the LA area’s coastal power plants, sewage facilities and shipping ports. Floods and erosion threaten the region’s wide sandy beaches, coastal boardwalks, and beach commerce.​

The Regional Adapt LA project enables cities with coastal climate planning. Cities in the LA area get technical assistance via workshops and webinars. Regional Adapt LA has grown a “community of practice” among the municipal technocrati. Regional Adapt LA has been a project of the University of Southern California Sea Grant Program since 2014.

Current: Q1 2023

photo: Regional Adapt LA workshop participants coordinate their jurisdictions for coastal infrastructure projects. courtesy of Holly Rindge

Org site: dornsife.usc.edu/uscseagrant/adaptla/

3. Path to Positive LA shows local leaders how to communicate about climate.

A woman in a meeting host jacket points out to a local pastor what things to look for in the group's new communications document

Path to Positive LA’s job is to build local climate leadership. Here, a Path to Positive staffer helps a local pastor learn to communicate climate to his people. 

The concept of Path to Positive LA is to build a much broader public orientation toward climate – by focusing on mainstream leaders not typically associated with the environment. 

People follow trusted leaders like local officials, pastors, doctors, and teachers – folks who are part of people’s daily lives. Path to Positive LA shows these leaders effective ways to communicate about the Climate Emergency – with people in their sphere of influence.

Path to Positive’s Let’s Talk Climate: Messages to Motivate Americans (2015) distills the findings of 12 climate communications research studies into a concise, practical guide. Started in 2014

Current: Q1 2023

Org site: PathtoPositive.org/

PathtoPositive.org/Moving-Forward-Guide

4. Citizens’ Climate Lobby LA is great at media too.

A local climate lobby volunteer posing giddily at the doorway of the United States senate

Citizens’ Climate Lobbyists build good relationships with local and federally elected representatives through letter-writing campaigns, phone calls, office visits, op-eds and letters-to-the-editors. The LA citizen lobbyists meet directly with editorial boards and get climate info placed in the Los Angeles Times, local TV news, and digital media. LA has three Citizens’ Climate Lobby chapters: Los Angeles Mid City, USC, and West Los Angeles. Started in 2007

Most of CCL’s lobbying activity takes place at the local level, but sometimes the volunteers pursue their representatives on capitol turf – Sacramento and even Washington DC.

Current: Q1 2023

Org site: CitizensClimateLobby.org

5. LA’s 350 Climate Action group made a big structural fix.

In 2018, SoCal 350 Climate Action successfully pushed the City of Los Angeles to stop doing business with Wells Fargo Bank. The great big bank has long been at the core of the economic superstructure that finances Big Carbon.​ Structural disruption, here in the area of Big Finance, forces Big Bank shareholders to think about financing more clean energy projects.

Even with its big win in LA, SoCal 350 Climate Action has a lot of work ahead. Between 2016 and 2019 – after the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement – 33 big banks loaned $2,000,000,000,000 (two trillion dollars) to the big coal, oil, and gas companies. This financing of climate change continues into the 2020s, despite the fact that carbon combustion is damaging the climate and everyone’s chance of having a life.

Current: Q1 2023

Org site: SoCal350.org

Financial report card: ran.org/bankingonclimatechange2019/

Major newspaper: TheGuardian.com/environment/2019/oct/13/top-investment-banks-lending-billions-extract-fossil-fuels

7. Sunrise Movement LA mobilizes direct enthusiasm

Sunrise Movement LA organizes youth and young adults into “hubs” of climate awareness. Some hubs are entire high schools, colleges, and universities that can self-activate in big numbers when a mass public appearance is good strategery.

Major newspaper: LAtimes.com/california/story/2019-11-01/greta-thunberg-youth-climate-strike-planned-for-friday

Current: Q1 2023

Local blog: LAmag.com/citythinkblog/climate-change-protest-hollywood/

Org site: twitter.com/sunrisemvmtla?lang=en

8. LA’s climate strikers wants corporate and government action – right now.

Climate Strikes in Los Angeles are mass rallies made up of Los Angeles 712th grade students and local climate action groups. Climate Strikes are the worldwide expansion of 16-year old Greta Thunberg’s one-person protests every Friday in her hometown during 2018. LA’s November 2019 Climate Strike event featured Thunberg at City Hall speaking to thousands of very serious youth activists.

Colorfully dressed students with placards take over a downtown LA street shouting slogans and demanding climate justice for their doomed generation

Young people in LA want oil wells and oily politicians out. They’re upset with City officials who let oil companies drill for oil in LA neighborhoods.

A big goal of Climate Strikes everywhere is to oust politicians who don’t move to quickly phase out carbon fuels. Thousands of LA’s youth activists and their friends became old enough to vote in the 2020 U.S. and local elections, and even more can vote in the 2022 elections.

9. Climate Extinction LA gets instant press coverage. They’re so awesome.

In September 2019, Climate Extinction protestors forced Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard to close down. LA Police at the scene deemed it a peaceful protest, arrested no one, but said the group didn’t have a permit. They did get live air-time on the evening news.