ABOUT THIS COLLABORATIVE
The Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability (LARC) is a membership organization fostering a network of local and regional decision-makers in the Los Angeles County region to perform climate mitigation and adaptation work using cutting- edge research on local climate impacts and information management systems. LARC’s mission is to ensure a sustainable Los Angeles that is prepared for the impacts of climate change.
LARC is a collaborative organization, based on the principles of dialogue and shared purpose. It is housed at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (IoES). It receives logistical support from the IoES, but is governed by the LARC Governing Board, an elected body of LARC Members.
LARC is the sole climate collaborative in the LA region and its network is a cross-section of climate practitioners and decision-makers including academia, cities, LA County, regional agencies, nonprofits, and businesses. Recognizing the need for cross-jurisdictional collaboration within the large and diverse LA County region, LARC coordinates climate resiliency efforts with land use, transportation, infrastructure, energy, water, public health, emergency response, and resource management partners. LARC serves as a convening body to ensure consistency of performance, collaboration among decision-makers and practitioners, and coordination of climate action efforts for the LA region as a whole. Both within its membership and with policymakers in the region at large, LARC facilitates the exchange of information, including cutting edge and locally relevant climate research initiatives, best practices in policy development, information management systems, and education efforts.
ABOUT THE REGION
Los Angeles County is a megalopolis of international economic importance with over 10 million people, speaking over 150 different languages. In addition to county government, there are 88 cities and over 1,200 special districts. Reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs) requires a cross-jurisdictional approach to ensure community-wide reductions. This is especially true in Southern California, where vehicular emissions from a single automobile may occur in dozens of cities over the course of a single commute. Communities throughout the Los Angeles region can anticipate a diversity of shared climate change impacts, including higher temperatures, increased wildfire risk, constricted water resources, and flooding from sea level rise and storm surge. However, each jurisdiction’s capacity for addressing these risks varies widely depending on staff capacity to undertake resiliency planning efforts, coupled with availability of funding to take climate action.
PROMISING PRACTICES AND INNOVATIONS
- LA’s Climate Future: Through a federal energy efficiency conservation block grant to the City of Los Angeles, LARC commissioned a simulation of regionalized climate change projections in Greater LA. This downscaled analysis is critical to developing place-based strategies that take into account differing socio-demographics, and levels of vulnerability in the region. For example, LARC is linking the increased heat forecasts to social vulnerability to show where the most extreme levels of impact are likely to be felt. Now local and regional decisionmakers can better anticipate climate impacts and develop targeted policies to create future-ready resilient communities throughout the LA Basin.
Sea Level Rise and Storm Surge Modeling: In partnership with USC/Sea Grant, LARC has brought together a group of coastal stakeholders to develop a sea level rise adaptation planning process for the LA region. The results will be analyzed with geo-referenced infrastructure data to assess the vulnerability of property across the jurisdiction. The study will examine appropriate adaptation strategies that could be evaluated in a general plan or local coastal land use plan. Coupled with a robust staff education and training program, the data in the study will be the bedrock upon which coastal jurisdictions can perform coastal resiliency planning next steps, including infrastructure and community vulnerability assessments.
Interactive Energy Atlas: LARC is partnering with the UCLA/California Center for Sustainable Cities (CCSC) on their Energy Atlas project to map energy consumption data across the region, on a parcel-by-parcel basis using data from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Southern California Edison, and the Southern California Gas Company. The Energy Atlas will provide users with detailed information about county energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and climate action strategies, overlaid with socio-demographic data. The Energy Atlas will serve as an interactive platform and data clearinghouse for local governments to share locally and regionally relevant climate planning best practices, and to coordinate municipal climate action efforts.
Framework for Climate Action (A Greater LA): In fall 2013 LARC embarked on a three-year initiative to create the regional Framework for Climate Action. As a clearinghouse of climate research, data, and policy guidance, the Framework is uniting the work of regional entities into one landscape. It is a resource for decisionmakers and practitioners in the region, helping them mitigate the causes of climate change and prepare for its impacts ultimately creating a more resilient and healthy LA. The Framework will include a comprehensive survey of existing localized climate and sustainability research, information, practices, ordinances, policies and guidelines, called the State of the Region.
Participation in Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation (ARCCA): California’s ARCCA was formed in early 2012 to prepare California’s urban centers for the emerging impacts of climate change. ARCCA brings together regional collaboratives from San Diego, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Sacramento that are coordinating and supporting local climate partners in projects to enhance public health, protect natural systems and build economies.
LA County Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory: The first comprehensive picture of emissions sources and trends for the entire LA Basin was the product of a partnership between LARC and Los Angeles County to develop a region-wide greenhouse gas inventory. Using methodology created by International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, the project team calculated GHG emissions inventories for each of the 88 cities in LA County, as well as for the unincorporated county for the year 2010. The goal of this work was to standardize municipal GHG emissions accounting throughout the LA region by providing informational resources to municipalities and communities that lacked the ability to quantify their own GHG emissions.
THE CHALLENGES AHEAD
The LARC team outlined the following key challenges:
- Determining best options for organizing the regional collaborative for ongoing work and service to the broader region.
- Providing regional services while covering costs.
- Attracting engagement in the regional process.
- Fostering sectoral and professional integration to tackle regional adaptation challenges.
- Improving mass communication and stakeholder engagement on critical issues.
- Navigating the advocacy, education and lobbying aspects of helping to advance regional climate adaptation.