Governor Newsom calls for protecting 30% of state land in league with international effort
Los Angeles Times – October 7
Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order last Wednesday to protect nearly a third of California’s land and coastal waters in his latest effort to fight climate change that he has blamed for recent record-breaking wildfires. He directed state agencies to pursue actions that will use the state’s lands and waters to absorb climate-warming carbon from the atmosphere. Newsom said innovative farming practices, wetlands restoration, better forest management, more tree-planting, and more parks are all potential tools. California is the first state to join 38 countries that have made similar commitments, Newsom said. Though more than half of California land is owned by the state or federal government, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that only 22% is currently considered protected.
ULI report finds that investors assess climate risk at the market level
Urban Land – October 5
ULI and Heitman, in collaboration with Arup Group and consulting group Milliman, in newly published research find that real estate investors are starting to look beyond individual property vulnerability to climate change and to scrutinize the resilience of the broader market. The report concludes that investors are increasingly looking for information about climate risk at a market level, with some even beginning to make decisions about whether to invest, or continue investing, in markets particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The report also documents the factors that climate-focused investors are considering when evaluating markets. In response, a city’s resilience policies, financing strategies, and infrastructure investments are likely to become more important to real estate investor decision-making.
Report finds only one-fifth of U.S. cities are on track to meet carbon reduction goals
Solar Power World – October 6
Leading U.S. cities are expanding their clean energy efforts to tackle climate change, yet many more lag far behind, and only one-fifth have community-wide greenhouse gas reductions goals and are on track to meet them, according to the 2020 City Clean Energy Scorecard released last Tuesday by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. New York City leaped to first place in the ranking followed by Boston and Seattle (tied for second place) and Minneapolis and San Francisco (tied for fourth place). The new efforts embraced by the top cities in the list include Los Angeles’ updated codes mandating that new buildings be pre-wired for electric vehicle charging stations at more parking spaces and San Francisco’s work with marginalized communities to establish equitable zero-emissions residential building strategies.
California touts another $147 million for homeless housing projects
Courthouse News Service – October 9
California announced an additional $147 million earmarked for homeless housing projects across the state last Friday, the latest in a rapid-fire effort to house people living on the street during the Covid-19 pandemic. In April, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the rollout of Project Roomkey, a program that acquired 15,000 hotel rooms across the state to house homeless people during the health emergency. That program met pushback from some communities across the state and by September the program began to ramp down. The focus has shifted to converting motels, hotels, and vacant apartment buildings into housing for the homeless under Project Homekey, a nearly $600 million program that will give jurisdictions the ability to fund rehabilitation projects in their local communities.
California utility is now measuring building electrification in “avoided carbon”
Greentech Media – October 1
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) has changed its energy-efficiency metric from avoided electricity consumption to avoided carbon dioxide emissions. SMUD is the first utility in the country to count avoided carbon emissions from the existing building stock as part of its progress on energy efficiency. This makes building electrification central to SMUD’s energy-efficiency efforts. The switch to “avoided carbon” is part of SMUD’s ambitious effort to accelerate the decarbonization of its existing building stock.