Leading the way for a greener LA — Metro Board adopts 2019 Climate Action and Adaptation Plan

Smoke from a wildfire in the San Gabriel Mountains with the El Monte Bus Station in the foreground.

The 2019 Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) outlines how Metro is both fighting climate change and preparing for a changing climate. The CAAP sets goals and identifies ways the agency can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions that leads to global warming. And the plan also identifies steps to increase the ability of our system to bounce back and withstand extreme weather and long-term climate impacts.

What extreme weather events are we facing?

The Los Angeles region could experience increases in maximum temperatures, the number of high heat days and precipitation extremes over the coming years. As you’ve probably noticed, this year we’ve had significant rainfall in many areas across L.A. County, and as summer continues we’ll likely see more extended heatwaves. As for long-term climate impacts, we’re already dealing with an increase in the frequency and intensity of wildfires.

And of course, there’s the often ignored slow moving disaster of sea level rise. The L.A. Times has recently published a pretty comprehensive article about that.

All of these things could disrupt service, threaten rider safety and comfort, increase the cost of maintaining the vast Metro system and reduce Metro’s ability to provide emergency services to other partners in the region. Therefore, Metro must proactively identify and address these risks and minimize their impact, both now and in the future.

How are we doing that? 

First and foremost, by making sure we’re not contributing to climate change wherever possible. Metro’s goal is to be zero-emissions by 2050. To achieve this ambitious reduction goal, we have identified 13 measures including transitioning to all zero-emission vehicles, using 100% renewable energy and installing energy and water efficient systems. Implementing these measures would reduce more than 416,000 metric tons of annual carbon dioxide emissions — the equivalent of more than 88,000 passenger vehicles.

As Metro works to further reduce its own emissions, transit becomes an even more sustainable solution for the L.A. area. That means you — the transit rider — can feel doubly good about going Metro. Not only have you taken your own car off the streets, you’re on one of the greenest modes of transit there is.

Metro will also ensure that climate resilience is thoroughly considered when making decisions related to planning, designing, construction, procurement and operations. We’re establishing a flexible approach to adaptation that can be monitored and adjusted over time as climate science improves and as population, land use, and technology change.

Meeting these goals will require bold action.

In the CAAP, we’ve identified five principles to guide implementation:

  • Embrace climate leadership
  • Secure funding and prioritize resources
  • Integrate climate knowledge into existing decision-making processes
  • Monitor and evaluate progress
  • Engage with community stakeholders

Following these principles, Metro will create a climate-resilient organization and transit system that is ready and able to continue to provide services to the people of L.A. County no matter what the future brings.

4 replies

  1. I applaud Metro for taking notice about global warming and taking steps to do something about it. However, it is world wide and unless President Trump and the Republican controlled Senate are wiling to take action and do something about it, than very little will change. However, I think Metro is doing great by taking steps to do their share.

  2. Also, having better shade at bus stops is definitely part of climate adaptation. Would you send your grandparents to wait for a bus in this heat with no shade? It’s only getting hotter. Metro should lobby the state to get some legal authority to put up shelters whether cities want them on their streets or not.

  3. The plan (p. 17) says that the Orange Line will be transitioned to battery electric buses by 2020 as the first step towards getting to 100% directly operated zero-emission buses by 2030. I’m really looking forward to the Orange Line transition and I would love to see a deep dive on how that’s going. What have you learned from other agencies that are using electric buses like Foothill Transit and Long Beach Transit?