After four years of research, development, and community outreach, the City of Long Beach has created a Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP). The document addresses a broad spectrum of climate change issues and has several provisions that will directly affect Downtown Long Beach for the better. If adopted by the Long Beach City Council, the CAAP will go into full effect next fall.

“Downtown is the closest part of the City to the Port of Long Beach,” said Stephanie Gonzalez, DLBA’s Placemaking Manager. “The CAAP presents ways to mitigate the negative environmental impacts and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that come from the Port and related traffic.”

The CAAP proposes Downtown air quality improvement actions such as “urban greening” – planting trees and foliage that absorb carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas that causes global warming. The document also encourages the use of photocatalytic tiles, which, when mounted on roofs, clean the air of nitrogen dioxide, which is emitted by diesel trucks.

The plan will support continued implementation of the Port’s suite of programs aimed at reducing its environmental impacts, including the Clean Air Action Plan, which introduced a wide range of anti-air pollution strategies, and the Clean Trucks Program, which has applied stringent standards to all Port-bound trucks since 2009 and has helped decrease harbor air pollution significantly.

Less public traffic means less air pollution as well. The CAAP supports plans for continued renovation and improvement of Downtown Metro Blue Line services, as well as the ongoing enhancement of Downtown’s bikeways, which keep those transportation options appealing and convenient. Downtown pedestrians will also benefit from CAAP, which supports programs to expand and improve pedestrian infrastructure citywide.

The plan also includes steps to improve Downtown ocean water quality, including the inventorying and flood-proofing of sewer pump stations most prone to clogs – some of which are in the Shoreline Marina area.

“CAAP calls upon the City to engage with the Downtown business community and the Long Beach business community at large, identifying ways that they can work together to improve sustainability, including using emerging technologies and supporting green job creation,” said Jennifer Ly, a Planner on the team who developed the CAAP. “The CAAP can benefit local businesses and residents through support of such actions as the building of efficiency retrofits, decarbonization of energy generation, construction of high-performance buildings, and rooftop and community solar deployment.”

Another potential by-product of climate change is a rise in sea level. The CAAP illustrates Downtown’s sea level vulnerability with a series of highlighted aerial photos, and explains how future flooding in Downtown could be mitigated with improvements to shoreline and stormwater systems.

CAAP is a wide-ranging plan that compares favorably with similar plans in other cities, according to Ly. “Many jurisdictions have adopted climate action plans to help meet State (GHG) reduction mandates and to implement climate action locally,” said Ly. “What I would highlight about the City of Long Beach Climate Action and Adaptation Plan is that it is very comprehensive.”