During the past decade, the City of Pasadena has pursued a variety of programs and policies to proactively reduce its carbon footprint such as promoting alternative modes of transportation, increasing energy efficiency of new buildings, banning plastic bags and polystyrene products, and conserving natural resources. On March 5, 2018, City Council unanimously adopted the Pasadena Climate Action Plan (CAP) demonstrating the City’s commitment to confront climate change. The CAP is a strategic framework for measuring, planning, and reducing the City’s share of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and includes an ambitious goal of reducing emissions by more than half by the year 2035. The City will also provide annual updates to track the CAP’s progress and its implementation. See below for more information on the CAP’s development, main reduction strategy, and annual reports.
Climate Action Plan Background
The global climate is changing, due in part to increases in concentrated emissions of GHG, such as carbon dioxide, over the last century. These gases play a critical role in the Earth’s changing climate – these changes in in temperature can translate to potentially hazardous shifts in climate and weather. Many communities, including Pasadena, have seen changes in weather, with associated increases in droughts and intensified rains, as well as more frequent and severe heat waves. As the changes become more pronounced in the coming decades, they will most likely present challenges to human health and welfare, the economy, and ecosystems.
To respond to the threat of climate change, different legislation, regulations, and executive orders have been enacted by the State to achieve robust GHG emissions reductions while addressing the impacts of a changing climate. In 2006, with the passage of the Global Warming Solutions Act, Assembly Bill (AB) 32, California became the first state in the U.S. to mandate state-wide reductions in GHG emissions as an effort to combat climate change. AB 32 sets a state-wide target to reduce GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. In 2016, the enactment of Senate Bill (SB) 32 extended this commitment by raising the state-wide emissions target to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. Overall, California’s state-wide target is to reduce emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.
A community-wide inventory of GHG emissions was prepared for the year 2009 to establish a baseline, or a reference point, from which the City could set future emissions reduction goals and measure progress. The 2009 baseline inventory accounts for emissions resulting from four sectors: energy, transportation, water, and solid waste.
As shown in the image below, the transportation sector accounted for the largest portion of emissions, contributing approximately 52 percent of the community-wide total. Energy use was the second largest producer of emissions, contributing approximately 47 percent of the community-wide total. This information helped to inform the CAP’s overall reduction strategy and where the City should focus its efforts.
You can view more information on the 2009 GHG Emissions Inventory here.
Climate change presents Pasadena with both complex challenges and tremendous opportunities. In the fall of 2015, the City of Pasadena embarked on a process to develop a Climate Action Plan (CAP) to reduce community-wide GHG emissions and combat climate change. The Pasadena CAP is the latest initiative in the City’s on-going commitment to confronting the issue of climate change.
The purpose of the CAP is as follows:
- Analyze community-wide GHG emissions at a programmatic-level,
- Outline a strategy to reduce Pasadena’s GHG emissions consistent with AB 32, SB 32 and EO S-3-05,
- Demonstrate Pasadena’s commitment to achieving the state-wide GHG emissions reduction targets, and
- Serve a qualified GHG emissions reduction plan consistent with the California Environmental Quality Act Guidelines Section 15183(b)(1).
The CAP is a long-range qualified GHG reduction plan that provides a strategy to reduce GHG emissions from community-wide activities and municipal operations in Pasadena to support the California’s efforts under EO S-3-05, AB 32, and SB 32. The CAP builds on the goals and policies of the General Plan and complements the State’s objectives to address climate change. Specifically, the CAP identifies climate action measures and implementation actions to reduce GHG emissions to achieve the following reduction goals:
- 27% below 2009 levels by 2020 (equivalent to 14% below 1990 levels, exceeding AB 32 target),
- 49% below 2009 levels by 2030 (equivalent to 40% below 1990 levels, consistent with SB 32),
- 59% below 2009 levels by 2035 (equivalent to 52% below 1990 levels), and
- 83% below 2009 levels by 2050 (equivalent to 80% below 1990 levels, consistent with EO S-3-05).
The strategy for achieving the goals outlined in the CAP builds on Pasadena’s overall success to date, proposing to strengthen existing programs that have contributed to this success, and integrating new efforts to reduce GHG emissions. The CAP identifies 5 climate strategies, 27 measures, and 142 actions to reduce Pasadena’s GHG emissions.
Collectively, they have the potential to reduce emissions and contribute to the state-wide efforts to combat climate change. The climate strategy is summarized below:
- Energy Conservation and Efficiency – reduce energy demand, utilize energy more efficiently, and switch to carbon neutral sources
- Sustainable Mobility and Land Use – improve pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, enhance carpool and public transportation services, and expand the use of electric vehicles and related infrastructure
- Water Conservation– increase access to and use of recycled water and improve storm water infiltration
- Waste Reduction – promote reuse, recycling, and composting
- Urban Greening – maintain a healthy and expand existing urban forest
For more information on the adopted CAP, including implementation and monitoring progress, please see the links below.
The 2018 Annual Report marks the first annual report and provides a snapshot of the City’s progress. This report focuses on the progress made towards achieving the 2020 GHG emissions reduction goal. It identifies the status of 13 performance indicators and whether those indicators will likely be achieved by year 2020. The report also highlights key actions and programs implemented by various departments- Planning & Community Development, Transportaion, Water & Power, and Public Works. Appendix A details the status of all implementation actions identified within the near-term time frame.
The 2019 Annual Report marks the second annual report and provides a snapshot of the City's progress, focusing on the progress made towards achieving the 2020 GHG emissions reduction goal. It identifies the status of 13 performance indicators and whether those indicators will likely be achieved by year 2020. The report also highlights key actions and programs implemented by various departments- Planning & Community Development, Transportation, Water & Power, and Public Works. The attachment below details the status of all implementation actions identified within the near-term time frame.
The City is working on a variety of programs and projects to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emission. The following is a growing list of some of the programs and projects the city is currently working on.
Cooling Pasadena Project (NEW)
The City has partnered with Southern California Association of Governments, Alta, Day One, and the Pasadena Complete Street Coalition to prepare a toolkit that would identify strategies to cool Pasadena’s streets.
Complete Streets Project
Save Water Program
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