Japan Business Forum 2012 (3/11) - Guest Remarks by Mr. Teruhiko MashikoGuest Remarks by Mr. Teruhiko Mashiko, Member of the House of Councilors, during the Japan Business Forum on July 17, 2012. For more post-event information, visit www.jetro.org/jbf2012.
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Japan Business Forum 2012 (2/11) - Video Message from Mr. Yoshinori SuematsuVideo Message from Mr. Yoshinori Suematsu, Senior Vice Minister for Reconstruction, followed by a presentation "From Recovery, to Revitalization" by Mr. Daiki Nakajima of JETRO New York during the Japan Business Forum on July 17, 2012. For more post-event information, visit www.jetro.org/jbf2012.
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Japan Business Forum 2012 (1/11) - Welcome Remarks by Mr. Hiroaki IsobeWelcome Remarks by Mr. Hiroaki Isobe, Executive Vice President of JETRO, during the Japan Business Forum on July 17, 2012. For more post-event information, visit www.jetro.org/jbf2012.
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Despite a relatively low amount of domestic energy resources, Japan has managed to be at the forefront of energy efficiency and renewable energy development since the oil embargoes of the 1970's. It is now one of the few low-carbon economies in the world. The United States has a tremendous opportunity to lower its CO2 emissions per GDP to levels similar to Japan's while sustaining high levels of economic output. Hybrid cars are just one example of the many opportunities for collaboration in clean technology between our two countries.
JETRO serves as a liaison between Japanese innovators in energy technologies and U.S. companies. This website provides information designed to help facilitate collaboration in this vital field.
Contact Us to work with Japanese Green Technology companies in the U.S.
Local Implementation of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategies
JETRO Green Building Report Vol. 4
However, local governments struggle with limited time, resources and "know-how” in order to implement new GHG reduction policies. In addition, local governments vary so much by population and region that specialized guidance is required. It will not be a simple process to implement these substantial changes. And local governments are reacting differently.
California has some local communities that embrace GHG reduction strategies, others are lost on how to make change, and some resistant to any change at all. It is clear that these actions will need participation from the local community, and state government, academic institutions and non-profits have all begun efforts to foster change. This article reviews activity designed to encourage local level implementation of GHG reduction policies, then looks at activities taken by the cities themselves. Finally, there is a short review of how this compares to the approach taken in Japan with the Eco-Model Cities project.
In September of 2006, Governor Schwarzenegger signed the Global Warming Solutions Act, also known as Assembly Bill 32 (AB 32), which gave the Air Resources Board the authority to regulate carbon dioxide and other GHG emissions as a public health threat. ARB is the lead organization responsible for implementing, and enforcing, the AB 32 legislation. This is first government agency in the US to be responsible for GHG emissions. The law requires GHG emissions to be reduced to 1990 levels by 2020, which in raw numbers means a reduction back to 427 million metric tons of CO2 each year. This will be a challenge as emissions have historically risen with economic and population growth and stand at more than 600 million metric tons as of 2008. In addition to the goals of AB 32, there is a separate Executive Order by Governor Schwarzenegger that requires GHG reductions of 80% by 2050.
Regulating GHG emissions is a massive undertaking that requires cooperation and coordination from many different government agencies. The AB 32 Scoping Plan analyzes emissions by sector and outlines the main strategies California, including 77 targeted initiatives. The scoping plan has a range of GHG reduction actions which include direct regulations, alternative compliance mechanisms, monetary and non-monetary incentives, voluntary actions, market-based mechanisms such as a cap-and-trade system, and an AB 32 cost of implementation fee regulation to fund the program.
AB 32 regulates emissions for the state as a whole, yet, there is no requirement for California's 478 cities or 58 counties to do anything. Cities and counties may make their own targets, but nothing is enforced. California's Climate Change Scoping Plan encourages local governments to adopt a goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 15 percent below today's levels by 2020 and ARB has teams supporting local government implementation.1 One resource is called the "Local Government Toolkit2" that provides a "one-stop-shop" of guidance and resources to assist local governments to reduce GHG emissions and save money. The first step for a city to take is an inventory of GHG emissions, but this is not easy for local governments as many are limited in the amount of resources they can contribute. ARB is developing a free, California specific, tool for cities and counties to measure emissions.3 Then, based on inventory emissions, there are different actions each local government can take. The emission models will have cost estimates and paybacks built in to allow for easy calculations. ARB is partnering with other organizations such as local air quality districts and the Institute for Local Government (part of the League of Cities) to develop, market and distribute the toolkit.
Another law passed to supplement AB 32 is SB 375, the smart growth initiative to reduce urban sprawl by encouraging regional planning to expand walking, biking, rail and transit-oriented development. There are 17 metropolitan planning agencies in California collaborating to create comprehensive regional targets focused on reducing automotive transport. The law was created with incentives, such as a monumental change to CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) that makes it easier to build in certain areas. There are very few penalties for cities, but it is being taken seriously. A developer is allowed to sue a city if there is not a zoning allowance for high-density buildings, and cities are required to adopt a sustainable land ordinance or lose some state funding. Attorney General Jerry Brown has taken action to enforce SB 375 and has sued cities that have failed to include GHG emissions not included in CEQA analyses.
Research and Academic Involvement
There is also a program focused specifically on the topic of the local-level approach to climate change. It is called the UCLA Program on Local Government Climate Action Policies that generates and disseminates new knowledge to support the creation of state policies addressing local emissions, to assist local governments in meeting these new regulatory demands, and to promote best practices in local government climate action policies. The group has a defined set of initiatives that includes5:
Currently, in California, it is still very early in local climate strategy planning. There are many cities that want to reduce emissions, but do not know their emission numbers. In fact, there are few cities that have measured emissions, set targets and created goals to reduce emissions. For example, there are 188 cities in the Los Angeles Region and many have done nothing, as not all local governments are convinced they want to take action.
It will be useful to discover why some cities have been aggressive, others have not, and which cities have been successful, and why. There is an opportunity for a natural experiment to compare cities and define a qualitative method to compare them. For example, three cities with the currently most impressive sustainability programs are Santa Monica, Berkeley, Chula Vista. Chula Vista is an interesting case because it is predominately poor and Latino, very different from the affluent white neighborhoods of Santa Monica and Berkeley. Evaluation has shown they have done a good job at explaining the co-benefits of climate action such as improved air quality, creating walkable cities and cost-savings associated with energy use and infrastructure build out.
UCLA's research on this subject will show, successes, such as Chula Vista, that can be shared with other cities to allow for more successful implementation. This is important because local governments have jurisdiction over many areas that are big factors in GHG emissions such as water and sewer, energy use, planning and transportation systems and solid waste.
Non Profit Activity
ICLEI is an international member-based organization that provides technical consulting, training, and information services to build capacity, share knowledge, and support local government in the implementation of sustainable development at the local level. The basic premise is that locally designed initiatives can provide an effective and cost-efficient way to achieve local, national, and global sustainability objectives. There are 1,124 local governments that are part of the organization. The US office, located in Oakland has 600 local government members in 49 states.
The Local Government Commission (LGC)8 is another nonprofit, nonpartisan, membership organization that provides inspiration, technical assistance, and networking to local elected officials and other dedicated community leaders who are working to create healthy, walkable, and resource-efficient communities. The LGC's membership is composed of local elected officials, city and county staff, planners, architects, and community leaders who are committed to making their communities more livable, prosperous, and resource-efficient. Local Government Commission provides inspiration and simplicity to local governments unsure how to proceed with GHG reduction planning and implementation. The LGC works with both progressive local governments such as Sonoma County and Ventura County, but also agencies that have made little action such as San Bernardino County and San Joaquin County. An example of services provided are day-long workshops offered in various cities throughout California on how to implement AB 32 and SB 375 laws and what local governments need to know on climate legislation.
From the Cities
The City of Los Angeles
The Mayor's current environmental plan focuses on clean air, clean energy, and conservation of energy and water.11 Some specific targets for these goals are:
To reach these goals, the City is implementing programs such as energy efficiency investments through the LADWP, green building mandates through the Planning Department and public-private partnerships such as the Clean Tech Corridor (http://mayor.lacity.org/Issues/CleanTech/index.htm). The Clean Tech Corridor is a tax-incentive area in downtown Los Angeles to promote investment for green businesses and promote local job growth – a big focus for the Mayor.
Los Angeles has been able to achieve several notable goals (http://mayor.lacity.org/Issues/Environment/Next4/index.htm) including:
The City of Santa Monica
Santa Monica has long had environmentally focused policy and environmental advocates on the city council. In 1994, the adopted the Sustainable City Program, a comprehensive strategy which "encourages stewardship of natural resources, establishes targets and goals for measuring progress towards achieving a sustainable community and provides the decision making framework for evaluating the long-term environmental, economic and social impacts of City policies, programs and operations.” The sustainability focus is on the "triple bottom line” that includes: economic development, environmental protection and social justice.
Sustainability interest for the City began in the early 1990s. Two city government officials and one council member were very involved in the movement and attended the Rio Convention. Shortly after, the city created an overarching document with clear targets back in 1992 and it was made an official council directive in 1994. In the 1990s, the program started small to keep a manageable scope. The focus was on municipal operations, which allowed for measurable outcome and results. By keeping the program scope to the municipal level, projects with longer paybacks, but bigger savings was enabled and it allowed the city to take a risk on some projects to find the successes, and failures. The program staff size at this time was 5 employees. In the 2000s, the program expanded its scope and now employs 18 people. The Office of Sustainability and the Environment13 was moved from the Public Works Department, and moved to the City Manager's Office. The funding structure was changed to "Enterprise Funds” that generates revenue by fees on trash and water, so it is not subject to funding cuts in an economic downturn.
The Sustainable City Plan14 is a comprehensive set of targets and strategies for the City of Santa Monica that focus on eight goal areas:
Specific targets, with a percentage associated for each year, are set in the Sustainable City Plan such as diverting solid waste, increasing renewable energy generation and increasing the number of LEED certified buildings. Progress on meeting these goals are evaluated and a "report card” on how these goals are being met are released each year.15
In regards to greenhouse gas emissions, Santa Monica has a target of 15% below 1990 levels by 2015. The GHG reduction goal for the city is 30% for city operations and 15% for the community. To achieve these targets, the city is using methods to influence behavior is through pricing. For example, utility fee structures increases with higher volume: the more you use, the more you pay. The city also uses legislation that is introduced by the city office, the public, or city council. For example, the city-wide ban on Styrofoam for food containers came from the public works department to save money in city employee labor wasted picking up litter from food containers.
Some recent, notable achievements of the city are:
There are several successes of the program that can be shared with other cities through means like Green Cities California (www.greencitiescalifornia.org). Here are examples from Santa Monica that can be replicated by other cities:
The City of Santa Monica is a progressive city, and will continue to be a leader in sustainability.
Campus Sustainability, UCLA
Central elements of the plan include:
Green building is important to the UC system as a whole and has adopted a policy for LEED certification for all new construction.18
UCLA is also working on programs the change behavior. One is driving, or commuting, behavior. In 2006, the Zip car program started in Los Angeles with a pilot program at UCLA to reduce car ownership and Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT). This is important, as GHG emissions are a large part of UCLA's GHG profile. Another program was aimed at educating students on energy use. For example, a fume hood in a laboratory can use the same energy as 3.5 houses, but training on the proper use of equipment can have a substantial energy savings.
The sustainability measures are created to match the attributes of the local community. Remote forest areas are focusing on energy from biomass, whereas city centers are focusing on building efficiency, and others are supporting electric vehicle programs.
The Eco-Model Cities project allows sharing of ideas and the most effective programs with other cities throughout Japan. It is a unique approach to the challenge of implementing low carbon strategies at the local level.
It is evident that local governments do embrace change when it is seen to improve quality of life through creating walkable cities, clean air and money savings spent for other use. When these strategies for a better quality of life match GHG reduction strategies, the programs can be embraced, making implementation easier for local governments.
Sharing successes from cities locally, and throughout the world is an important effort to help spread successful strategies that can work in other areas. Moving forward, it will be important to link the economic and quality of life benefits with climate change to meet our GHG reduction goals.
A PDF copy of this article can be found online here:
1Visit their website for more information (http://www.arb.ca.gov)