Climate change is an existential threat to human existence, and in California we see it more and more every year. From droughts, to a seemingly never-ending wildfire season, climate change is here, and we have to do everything within our power to mitigate its most damaging and deadly effects. That’s why as President of the California Senate, I made California the national leader in fighting climate change. I authored and passed the historic SB 100 which made California the largest economy in the world to commit to a clean energy grid by 2045; and legislation to ensure that our climate investments go to the underserved communities most sharply impacted by the effects of air pollution and climate change.
But environmental policy is about much more than just fighting climate change – it is about environmental justice. It is about ensuring that no matter what zip code you live in, you have access to clean air and greenspace. It is about righting the historical wrongs which concentrated industry and pollutants in poorer communities of color, while preserving parks for those who already had so much. That’s why I wrote AB 31, which funded the creation of at least 22 parks in Los Angeles alone, with an eye to equity and environmental justice. Every child should be able to feel green grass underneath their feet. Every mother and father should be able to send their kids outside to play without worrying about the air they breathe. Every Angeleno should be able to enjoy the natural wonders of this land we call our home.
During the beginning of the pandemic when stay-at-home orders were implemented, we saw a huge drop in CO2 and CO2e (one of the largest contributors to smog) including a 20% drop in nitrous oxides as measured by the South Coast air district. In fact, transportation is the source of 50% of greenhouse gasses in our state. While decades of vehicle emission regulations have made gas powered cars much cleaner, in order to really clean our air we have to go electric. Metro is already on track to have a zero-emission fleet by 2030, but what about the rest of us? Governor Newsom has announced a deadline of 2035 for all new cars sold in California to be electric, which means that we need more charging infrastructure. As Mayor, Kevin will work to add 125,000 new EV chargers by 2030, as well as 3,000 new super-chargers, with an emphasis on neighborhoods with a higher population of renters. This also applies to the expansion of electric car-sharing programs like BlueLA, which Kevin helped create by spearheading SB 1275, and will bridge the “green divide” for historically underserved communities.
Native trees provide shade and help clean the air, all while using very little water. They are also one of the most cost effective investments we can make to improve our environment and the liveability of our city. But the cost and effort of planting thousands of new trees will be wasted if we don’t also maintain them. That’s why Kevin is committed to increasing investments in our urban canopy while hiring more arborists and biologists to better care for the urban canopy now, and in the future.
Diesel emissions from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are the single greatest threat to air quality in the region. As the pandemic vastly increased online ordering, thereby increasing the shipping and transporting of goods, we’ve seen a direct increase in smog and air pollution. By November of 2021, fine-particle air pollution in Downtown LA had jumped an astonishing 40% from lower levels at the beginning of the pandemic. The communities around the port– Watts and Wilmington– are suffering under a man-made cloud of dense pollutants, which are known to cause higher rates of respiratory disease and cancers. As President Pro Tem of the California Senate, Kevin made California a leader in fighting climate change– and he will do the same for Los Angeles. He will use the Port’s position as the most productive port in the nation to compel operators to not only green their vessels, but green the entire transportation chain. Many operators have used the promise of automation under the guise of fighting climate change to lean their workforces— but many of those automated machines are powered by diesel fuels. Kevin will work with the operators and the ILWU to make sure that automation is not only electrified, but serves to support the men and women who make the Port of Los Angeles the best in the nation.
Every child deserves to grow up feeling green grass beneath their feet, no matter what zip code they grow up in. In the Assembly, Kevin authored AB 31, which made sure that funding for parks would be concentrated in the most underserved communities. He then wrote 2018’s Prop 68 – a ballot measure that currently funds parks across the state, including 22 parks in the city of Los Angeles alone. As Mayor, Kevin will champion the construction of new parks and green spaces to create more tree cover, reduce heat islands, and give Angelenos a natural refuge. He will create a revolving fund for park acquisition that will allow the Parks Department to have funds readily available when land becomes available in park underserved communities. Additionally, Kevin will set a goal of having all parks irrigated by recycled water within the decade.
In 2018, Kevin de León passed his landmark SB 100 – making California the largest economy in the world to legally commit itself to 100% clean energy. In 2021, Los Angeles passed its own version of SB 100: LA100, which accelerates the goals of SB 100 by a decade. Los Angeles will not reach its clean energy goals without modernizing its outdated grid – especially as we transition to more electric vehicles. Kevin will lead DWP to bring our grid into the 21st century and meet our LA100 benchmarks of 100% clean energy by 2035. He will use his State and Federal relationships to leverage all resources available to the city of Los Angeles so that we can forge ahead to a clean energy future.