UC San Diego, a leader in climate research, under pressure to slash its greenhouse gases
Los Angeles Times – March 2
For years, UC San Diego has been out front in forecasting the impact of climate change, earning the school international praise. But a UCSD faculty task force has released a report asking the university to do more to help fix the problem, starting by slashing the 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide that UCSD emits annually. The recommendations include replacing the school’s $30-million cogeneration plant with a cleaner, more efficient generating system; compelling faculty, staff, and students to fly less often; making public transportation free for faculty, staff, and students, while incentivizing carpooling and bus use; and developing mortgage packages that encourage campus members to live close to trolley and bus lines. The university’s Academic Senate, which created the task force in October, is now reviewing the report.
Why multifamily housing is expensive to build in Los Angeles
UC Riverside - March 5
A new study from the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development, released this week, finds that building condominiums in Los Angeles costs about $100,000 more per unit than in other nearby Southern California cities. “The fundamental reason for the difference comes down to the value of the land,” said Hoyu Chong, Lead Researcher at the Center for Forecasting and the report’s author. According to the study, in Los Angeles, land costs account for nearly one-sixth of a multifamily project’s total development cost compared to less than 2 percent in other Southern California cities studied (the cities of Anaheim, Oxnard, San Bernardino, and Riverside were used alongside Los Angeles in the prototype analysis). “What this research tells us is that the high cost of Los Angeles land, which stems from both the huge opportunity the city offers and the difficulty of building here, needs to be addressed with policies that promote more efficient land use, whether that’s prioritizing housing units over parking spaces or allowing more people and more units on a given parcel,” said Adam Fowler, Director of Research at the Center for Forecasting.
California to seek additional regulations on refrigeration units
San Francisco Chronicle – February 23
Refrigerators, air conditioning units, and dehumidifiers use greenhouse gases called hydrofluorocarbons that trap at least a thousand times more heat over the same time period than carbon dioxide, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. California has passed legislation to cut these gases significantly by 2030, but it now plans to take another step: Banning all but the most climate-friendly fluids in large cooling systems. Under the California Air Resources Board regulations, which are still in draft form, starting in 2022, new cooling systems with more than 50 pounds of refrigerant fluids — an amount usually used in supermarkets, ice rinks, and cafeterias — will face the first limits on the potency of the greenhouse gases they can emit if the new rule is approved. In 2023, stationary air conditioning systems will also have a new threshold for the climate impact of their fluids, although less strict than fridges. Businesses said the air board worked with them to reach common ground on future regulations — but compliance will still be expensive. Under current regulations, facilities need to register and pay fees for their cooling systems, conduct leak inspections, repair, and keep records. But under the new code, they would have to buy certain kinds of systems.
Groups work to revive Barrio Logan community plan update
The San Diego-Union Tribune – March 4
Three influential groups in Barrio Logan, community members, environmentalists, and shipbuilders, have been working to revive an update to the land use plan for San Diego’s Barrio Logan neighborhood. They plan to take that agreement to Councilwoman Vivian Moreno, who represents the neighborhood, and the city’s Planning Department in the next couple of weeks for the city to consider updating the community’s plan, again. In the past, permissive zoning in a 1978 community plan for Barrio Logan allowed for homes to be located next to industrial and commercial businesses. Environmental advocates for years have pushed to update the area’s zoning to improve the health of residents in the area. In 2013, the city council adopted an update to community plan, which was supposed to separate houses from industry. But opponents to the plan gathered signatures to overturn the plan at the polls.