Achieving 100% Sustainability in Energy, Water and Biodiversity by 2050.
Thriving in a Hotter Los Angeles Promise
With partnerships across sectors and communities, UCLA will develop a comprehensive plan to achieve self-sufficiency in energy and water in the Los Angeles region by 2050. The plan, which will be ready in 2019, will include:
- Identification and development of new technologies or efficiencies for the region to cost-effectively obtain 100% energy from renewable sources and 100% water from local sources.
- Strategies to preserve local habitats and species at risk due to the effects of climate change and urbanization.
- Methods to address current practices, baseline usage, building inventory, cultural behaviors and norms.
- Promotion of more equitable outcomes for communities and populations to help offset the burden now disproportionately placed on disadvantaged communities.
- Timelines, milestones, and required actions to transition Los Angeles to new energy, water and transportation systems; improved buildings; an updated regulatory framework; and informed practices reflecting a transformed urban fabric.
- A communications plan to build and strengthen partnerships with the stakeholders of Los Angeles to create shared commitments to implement required changes.
Approach to Solving the Problem
This Grand Challenge Project will address sustainability in eight separate components with overlapping membership to promote communication across the team. In addition, the project will utilize three work groups to ensure a more holistic perspective when looking at issues and solutions.
The eight components are:
The Sustainable City
Our vision of a fully sustainable Los Angeles by 2050 would include:
- Every rooftop in Los Angeles produces solar energy
- Smart metering sells energy back to the grid when it is most needed
- New technologies and policies dramatically cut water needs and increase supply
- Green spaces brim with beautiful native plants adapted to Southern California's dry climate
- An electric mass transit system and electric car infrastructure cut traffic and air pollution
- Bicycle and pedestrian options dot the cityscape
- Live–work communities and walkable neighborhoods reduce car dependence and foster social interaction and cultural vibrancy
- Money saved on energy and water bills flows into the local economy and more walkable neighborhoods increase foot traffic to local businesses
- Energy and water are harvested and managed while still protecting crucial ecosystem services and opportunities for recreation and enjoyment
- Green roofs and buildings, native gardens, neighborhood open spaces, green urban spaces, and other land-use and management strategies connect the city to its people, and both to their environment
- Adaptation and mitigation measures minimize the disruptive effects of higher temperatures, reduced water resources, rising sea level and other climate change impacts
For more details, see Components.
Why this Grand Challenge Project is Important
- In the US, energy production and use accounts for more than 80% of our emissions of greenhouse gases, the drivers of climate change.
- The time to act is now. The L.A. region is already experiencing some of the impacts of climate change. We can expect to experience increases in temperature, sea level rise, wildfire frequency and size, as well as decreased local snowfall, and changes to the frequency and severity of extreme weather events.
- In Los Angeles, more than 85% of our water is imported from elsewhere. Los Angeles is particularly vulnerable to water shortages due to burgeoning population and climate change, which impact water resources.
- Globally, it has been projected that half of all living species might be lost by 2100. Virtually all of these losses are driven by human activities.
- By 2050, downtown L.A. will experience three times as many extremely hot days as it does now, and the valleys and mountains will experience four times as many scorchers.
- Los Angeles and its surrounding areas have more cars than any other urban area in the world.
- 33.5 million Californians live in areas plagued by unhealthy air and are at greater risk for asthma attacks, heart attacks and premature death. Climate change is expected to make the problem even worse.
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Grand Challenges: A social movement for the greater good
On April 2, 2013, President Obama called upon companies, universities, foundations and philanthropists to join him in the pursuit of Grand Challenges—ambitious goals that capture the imagination and demand advances in innovation and breakthroughs in science, technology and implementation strategies.
From the Gates Foundation to NASA, private and public entities alike are embracing Grand Challenges with groundbreaking efforts that will create a better world.
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