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Climate Planning in the City – Get Involved!

Thousand Oaks is now developing its Climate and Environmental Action Plan (CEAP), and provided an update report to Council this week on community greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and engagement plans. The CEAP will detail the strategies and actions that the City will pursue to protect the environment and address the challenges of climate change. Actions will be aimed at improving overall public health, sustaining a healthy environment, reducing air pollution, protecting our energy supply, mitigating climate change and its impacts, and supporting a healthy economy into the future

GHG graphic for CEAP blogA critical starting point for such efforts is the development of the citywide greenhouse gas inventory, which documents the quantity of emissions of so-called “greenhouse gases” or GHGs that are responsible for climate change. Sources include both GHG emissions that the City has direct control over and those that result from community activities, which are directly and indirectly impacted by local government programs, implementation of State mandates, planning, and development decisions.

Last summer we shared the breakdown of community-wide emissions by source. The Council report this week included historical and future projections of those emissions in a Business-As-Usual (BAU) scenario – i.e. one in which no specific further mitigation actions are taken (see chart below).

Transportation, making up approximately 50% is shown in orange at the bottom, then electricity (yellow), then natural gas (brown), followed by the more minor sources such as refrigerants (HFCs, PFCs), waste and water delivery. A significant reduction in GHG emissions from electricity in 2019 (and 2020) is due to Council’s decision to join Clean Power Alliance as the community’s default provider at 100 percent renewable energy, which occurred in the first half of 2019.

In this BAU scenario, emissions are projected to be 28% below 2010 values by 2030, increasing slightly (due to anticipated population growth) for a 25% reduction by 2050. Since electricity emissions reductions have largely been realized, significant further reductions will need to come from the remaining major emission sources - transportation and natural gas use.

California has established GHG emission reduction targets of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 (SB32, 2016), 80 percent below 1990 levels (Executive Order S-3-05, 2005); and Carbon Neutrality by 2045 (Executive Order B-55-18), consistent with the recommendations of scientists to avoid dangerous climate change. Council set these reductions (relative to 2010) as working goals for the development of the CEAP, but encouraged pursuit of more accelerated reductions in line with recent IPCC recommendations of 45 percent below 2010 levels by 2030. (The City has chosen 2010 as its baseline year, based on the availability of records and its adopted Municipal Energy Plan.)

To aid CEAP development, twenty-two community stakeholders, representing a broad cross-section of the City’s residents and businesses will provide input and feedback on possible climate strategies in a series of monthly meetings beginning this month. These meetings are online and open to the public. A community-wide participatory meeting will be held to solicit feedback on proposed strategies this summer. Please visit  www.toaks.org/ClimateAction for more information and to sign up for meeting notifications.

The CEAP is being developed in parallel with the City’s General Plan. These plans are highly connected with GHG emissions depending strongly on the land use/circulation element of the General Plan in particular. To participate in the City’s General Plan process, please visit https://www.toaks2045.org/

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