WESTWOOD—An environmental study released on Thursday, April 27 by UCLA resulted in Los Angeles County receiving a “C” grade in its use of energy and constant air pollution.
According to the 2017 Sustainable LA Environmental Report Card for Energy and Air Quality, the grade was based on the failure of fuel use reduction, causing increased commute timing and the worst smog in the nation. Researchers have noted that there has been some development of pivotal sustainability plans in local cities. Air quality has been at its best in the last 40 years and a sales tax measure to add more building of public transit has been approved by county voters.
The report will be beneficial in helping keep local governments accountable, and tracking the progress of environmental efforts, as to whether they are succeeding or not.
“This year’s grades ranged from C- / Incomplete to B,” researchers stated. “Although there is progress toward meeting local and state goals, and a number of new standards and regulations that will undoubtedly have a positive impact in years to come, these grades would not get you on the UCLA dean’s list.”
According to the study, LA County’s purchasing of fuel and emissions of greenhouse gases have stayed constant. Over the last decade, it was discovered that at the same time of the population growth of 4 percent, use of energy in buildings, accounting for 40 percent of the county’s greenhouse gas emissions, only declined 2 to 3 percent.
In 2013, the city of Los Angeles had a 20 percent reduction of its greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels and is on track to meet its goal of a 45 percent reduction by 2025.
The study states, “While modest greenhouse gas emission reductions have been realized in recent years, few cities have developed climate action plans or greenhouse gas emissions inventories.”
According to researchers, Los Angeles County is one of the top three producers of distributed solar power in California, with Los Angeles being second to San Diego.
While air quality improved across Los Angeles County, the report indicates that emergency room visits between 2010 and 2015 for asthma related incidents rose. Health impacts in relation to smog are expected to worsen because of climate change.
The goal of the Sustainable City Plan is to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent by 2025, 60 percent by 2035, and 80 percent by the year 2050.