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Pasadena’s Draft Climate Action Plan: A Key Roadmap to Improve Our Local Environment


Guest Opinion




January 23, 2018 - Here's the long-awaited Draft Climate Action Plan for Pasadena. It details the situation and outlines specific actions you can take to do your share to reduce greenhouse gases. There is still time to offer suggestions for improvements to the plan. Public comments on the plan are due by February 10.


Morey Wolfson


Pasadena News Now


It has been two years in the making, but it was well worth the wait. Last month the Pasadena Planning and Economic Development Department released the City’s Draft Climate Action Plan (CAP).

The 100-page document is very readable. It provides citizens with a comprehensive guide on how the City and residents can join forces to combat climate change. The CAP represents perhaps the most important environmental guidance document produced by Pasadena since the release of the Green City Action Plan in 2006. The plan describes early actions by 2020, and long-range actions out to 2030 and 2035 – the timing and purpose are designed to be consistent with the City’s General Plan.

Pasadena obtained a $100,000 grant from the California Strategic Growth Council – a state agency which disburses a portion of California’s Cap and Trade revenue. The City retained Rincon Consultants to produce the CAP. Several City Departments worked with Rincon and the Planning Department to produce dozens of proposed actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to levels consistent with California’s climate action targets.

98% of Pasadena’s greenhouse gas sources that need sharp reductions are in the transportation and buildings sectors. Although they do not represent major greenhouse gas emissions or solutions, the remaining focus areas in the CAP (water conservation, better waste management, and urban greening) are very important in their own right.

It is significant that City practices alone (such as tree planting, waste management, building management, fleet management, etc.) compose only 6% of the proposed plans for greenhouse gas emission reductions. The remaining 94% of the proposed reductions relies on behavior changes in the community. Are we up to the task?

Major decisions will be made by the City Council in late 2018 when the Council reviews Pasadena Water and Power’s Integrated Resource Plan recommendations. The IRP roadmap will likely focus on the future of the City’s ‘take or pay’ contract to purchase coal-fired power from the Intermountain Power Plant in Utah, and how far the City should pursue its commitment to deploy renewable energy and demand-side management.

The CAP is moving through the process. Pasadena’s Environmental Advisory Commission unanimously endorsed the CAP at its meeting on January 18. The City Council’s Municipal Services Committee was briefed on the CAP on January 23. Public comments on the plan are due by February 10. The City Council has scheduled a public hearing on the CAP for March 5.

The CAP is a positive opportunity for citizens to learn more about Pasadena and explore ways to work with the City to improve our local environment.
Information on the plan is available at

Morey Wolfson is a Member of Pasadena’s Environmental Advisory Commission, although the views in this opinion editorial are his alone.




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