Embassies in Vietnam say "No" to plastic!
Why Los Angeles?
For years, California has been a leader in efforts to mitigate and prepare for climate change, doggedly building a comprehensive, policy-driven agenda focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and limiting their impacts on our climate. As the federal government continues to threaten the course of progress in the Unites States, strong state-level leadership is needed now more than ever before to light the way for climate advocates across the nation and around the world.
This is what brings The Climate Reality Project to Los Angeles for our 39th Climate Reality Leadership Corps activist training. From seeing the president stack his administration with friends of the fossil fuel industry to listening as he announced to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement to watching the head of the Environmental Protection Agency work his hardest to roll back the Clean Power Plan and vehicle emissions standards, the climate movement has faced some of its toughest challenges in recent years. The good news is that there’s hope. Millions of people are still spreading the word about the crisis, pushing their cities and towns to go 100 percent renewable and fighting for cleaner, healthier communities - and their numbers are growing every day.
THE WORSENING CLIMATE CRISIS
The warning is clear. Without serious action to cut emissions, the western United States could see a dangerous new normal emerge, with years of warmer temperatures and disappearing rainfall drying out farms and devastating the economy. Between 2012 and 2014, California was hit with its worst drought in at least 1,200 years, triggered by high temperatures and reduced rainfall linked to the change of climate and weather patterns. The drought has since lessened, but if the world doesn’t tackle the climate crisis, new dry spells will always be on the horizon. This year, for instance, snowpack-one of the main suppliers of fresh water for California-in the northern part of the state is at a frighteningly low level again. Further impacts include more frequent and costly wildfires and increased stress on the state’s agricultural sector.
CLIMATE AND HEALTH
Climate impacts in California will have major implications for the health of the state’s people and communities. The populations most at risk to heat stress are infants and young children, the elderly over 65, those already ill, outdoor workers, and low-income communities. Communities of lower income and color are more likely to live in inner city areas with less vegetation and tree canopies and greater exposure to the urban heat island effect, where temperatures are amplified during high-heat events. Additionally, exposure to excessive heat can aggravate existing human health conditions like asthma and other respiratory issues and heart disease.
RAISING VOICES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
Dating back to the days of John Muir, California has produced some of the strongest and most impactful voices in the environmental movement. Today, a diverse population of homegrown activists, climate heroes, and community leaders from across the state use their voices to fight for justice, fair and effective climate solutions, and environmental awareness. Activists are pushing for expedient solutions to the issue of disproportionately high pollution in disadvantaged communities and broader participation in environmental programs to ensure benefits reach all people. In doing so, activists in California are serving as a national model for climate justice. For more than three decades, California has been at the vanguard, passing ambitious, first-in-the-nation measures that have often served as models for national and even international environmental law. Activists, advocates, and concerned citizens helped pave the way for this legacy, and their role remains pivotal today.
BUILDING A CLEAN TECHNOLOGY FUTURE
The future is green, and no one knows this better than California’s climate-conscious companies and innovators. With the fast pace of new and existing technologies brought about by new policies, California has helped push national progress in clean energy, energy efficiency, and clean vehicles, all while boosting its economy. Despite critics’ complaints that moving to renewables would stymie economic growth and increase customers’ electric bills, the opposite has taken place. The push for clean energy in California has found a strong ally in the state’s business sector, who view clean technologies and policies as helping to drive investment and growth. Clean transportation also continues to race forward in California. With the federal government planning to reverse progress on key environmental and technological measures, such as fuel economy standards, California upholds its stringent standards and shows continued leadership as a policy trailblazer and facilitator of innovation.
STRENGTHENING LOCAL LEADERSHIP
States and cities throughout America have stepped up to lead the fight for climate progress. A leader among the pack, California is a founding member of the US Climate Alliance and its cities are among some of the most active in the push for climate solutions. After recently overtaking the United Kingdom to become the world’s fifth largest economy, California’s international engagement is essential to meaningful worldwide action to solve the climate crisis. Thanks in part to strong state government leaders, California has shown the world that local leadership can have a global effect. California has forged direct bilateral agreements with countries from Central and South America to Europe and Asia to further climate policies and clean innovation, and continues to reach out to new partners. Through continued local, regional, and state actions within the state and through its many collaborations, California can cement its role as a policy leader to states, cities, and municipalities around the world.