Community Benefits of Climate Action
A truly sustainable city not only has a healthy environment, but also a vibrant local economy and equitable community. Some of the best ways to take action on climate change can positively affect the local community as well. We call these extra benefits “co-benefits.” As we move toward carbon neutrality, we may also see co-benefits such as: cleaner air, more green jobs, better public health, more diverse ecosystems, and more.
Healthy Urban Landscapes
Livermore is beautiful. As we make plans to protect our community from the impacts of climate change, we are also prioritizing actions that protect our natural spaces and ecosystems.
We want to ensure that our ecosystems stay healthy and diverse and that future residents will enjoy these beautiful landscapes. To do this, we can plant trees throughout the city, add denser development and mix residences and businesses in some areas, reduce traffic, and reduce waste, stormwater pollution, and air pollution.
Long-Term Cost Savings
Switching to renewable energy, replacing natural gas appliances with electric appliances, and making energy efficiency upgrades can potentially reduce energy bills, especially in the long run. Even small energy upgrades count: simply replacing your household’s five most frequently used lights with EnergyStar bulbs can save you 10% annually on energy bills.
Electric vehicles, safer bicycle routes, and expanded public transit also offer significant yearly cost savings for individuals and families by reducing their transportation costs. These savings outweigh the initial cost of investing in these items in the long term. Did you know that the average yearly cost of owning an electric vehicle in California is nearly $1,000 cheaper than a gasoline-powered vehicle?
Equity in Our Community
Climate change has a higher impact on some communities, including low-income, elderly, young people, and people of color. Climate actions, such as increasing active and public transportation options, expanding public green space across the city, and improving indoor air quality by switching buildings from using natural gas to electricity, can benefit these frontline communities and increase equity. It is important that we implement climate actions with equity in mind so that all community members feel the positive benefits of climate action and increased resilience throughout Livermore.
Local Green Jobs
Phasing away from natural gas in favor of renewable energy sources and electrification has the potential to create new, local, green jobs, both on the energy generation side and on the building electrification side.
Investing in affordable mixed-use development may also create more opportunities for people to work where they live, or live where they work, rather than commute long distances.
Healthy, Livable Communities
Nearly all of the strategies and actions proposed will lead to healthier, more livable communities. By promoting mixed-use development and constructing protected bike lanes near transit, we can expand transit use, reduce traffic noise and pollution, increase affordable housing options, protect more green space, and help connect communities to each other.
Switching to electric vehicles and electric appliances can improve air quality and public health by avoiding toxic emissions from tailpipes and natural gas production and transport.
Resiliency to Economic & Climate Changes
By switching to electric vehicles and appliances and phasing out fossil fuels for renewable energy sources, we can improve our community’s resilience to fluctuations in oil and natural gas costs and availability.
Creating local green jobs will generate local incomes and local spending power, which will increase the resilience of our local economy during times of nationwide uncertainty
Agriculture and Land Stewardship
Warmer temperatures and variable precipitation will have negative effects on our local open spaces and agricultural lands and may require new strategies to increase their resilience and ensure long term viability. Strategies to store carbon in soil, such as applying compost and adding hedgerows also maintain water and nutrients in the soil. This can make our lands more drought- and fire-resistant, keeping them beautiful and productive for our local farmers and all community members.
Efficient Transportation Options
Mitigating and adapting to climate change will require that we reduce the number of gas-powered vehicles on our roads, especially during peak hours.
In part, this strategy will involve promoting new mixed development near transit hubs; constructing protected bike lanes for commuting and recreation; and installing appropriate infrastructure such as electric vehicle charging stations and dedicated bus lanes