Draft climate change plan suggests electrified air travel, vegetation on roofs and stronger seawalls

In the next 10 years, Long Beach will restore its dunes, incentivize reflective roofs and streets, and take sea level rise into account when approving new laws and negotiating new leases.

In the next 30 years, the city may begin relocating critical infrastructure and raising levees. And by the end of this century, the city will strengthen seawalls, elevate storm surge barriers and find ways to get homes and businesses out of flood-prone areas permanently.

That rough timeline is laid out in a draft of the city’s first Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, a document required by the state that officials hope to have approved by this fall.

The draft plan, released Friday, will also be discussed at a Saturday, June 1, event called LB ClimateFest from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Marine Stadium, 5255 E. Paoli Way.

The plan is divided into two sections: how the city can mitigate climate change, or slow its impact, and how Long Beach will have to adapt to the inevitability of a warming planet over the next 80 years.

The primary issues Long Beach will face are extreme heat, worsening air quality, drought and flooding from sea level rise.

Some of the adaptation strategies contained in the draft report include:

Extreme heat

  • Increasing “cool roofs,” which are special surfaces that reflect sunlight. This could include a layer of vegetation that acts as a roof, while also increasing green space and providing local food production.
  • Increasing reflective streets, surfaces and shade canopies throughout the city using new products such as CoolSeal and cool pavement.
  • Ensure there are working water fountains and water stations in all public facilities, parks and beaches.
  • Assess the power grid for vulnerabilities, in collaboration with Southern California Edison. Potentially create micro grids focused on areas of critical importance.
  • Expand the city’s Urban Forest Management Plan, prioritizing disadvantaged communities for tree planting.

Air quality

  • Incentivize the installation of roofing tiles that reduce air pollution, particularly in areas of the city that are heavily impacted by foul air.
  • Long Beach Airport will create a plan to reduce emissions with the integration of electric airplanes and other vehicles.
  • Electrify small off-road engines used for cutting lawns and other outdoor power equipment.
  • Support school bus electrification through state grants and other funding sources.
  • Increase monitoring of oil extraction and refining operations throughout the city through an audit of all methane emissions from all active and abandoned wells.

Drought

  • Implement additional water conservation measures, including using pricing to encourage high water users to reduce consumption.
  • Develop other water supplies, including capturing more rain and runoff and expanding water recycling and reuse.

Flooding

  • Establish a new floodplain ordinance that would include new base flood elevations informed by current science.
  • Incorporate sea level rise language into city plans, policies and regulations. This would allow city planners and others to take sea level rise into account when forming recommendations for approval of various projects.
  • Establish a flood monitoring program, utilizing crowd-sourcing applications and other methods to investigate flood risks throughout the city. The data could be automatically geolocated to a map viewable by city officials.

To stay up to date on climate change events and public hearings, click here.

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Melissa has been a journalist for over two decades, starting her career as a reporter covering health and religion and moving into local news. She has worked as an editor for eight years, including seven years at the Press Telegram before joining the Long Beach Post in June 2018. She also serves as a part-time lecturer at Cal State Long Beach where she teaches multimedia journalism and writing.
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