Chalk-drawn waves of blue, varying in shades and lengths, stretched across part of Long Beach’s Marine Stadium on a gray, gloomy morning.

While the artistic waves set an upbeat tone for 500-plus attendees on Saturday, June 1, who came to the city’s first Climate Festival event — which aims to educate the public about climate change — they also held a more ominous meaning. The chalk-drawn waves gave a real-life representation of how areas around the city, like Marine Stadium, could flood amid rising sea levels.

The festival provided the venue to reveal the draft of the city’s Climate Action and Adaption Plan, which aims to address sea-level rise and other climate-change-related issues that loom ahead.

The plan, which took about a year to put together, is a culmination of about 50 community events that engaged nearly 9,000 residents — paired with scientific analysis from 13 independent scientists with organizations ranging from Cal State Long Beach to the Aquarium of the Pacific.

The end result includes dozens of actions that would mitigate climate change, in addition to adapting to the effects it would have on the city’s infrastructure and residents. Saturday marked a 45-day period of public comment of the draft, before a finalized plan is ready to head to the City Council for approval to implement.

These are some of the 19 priority mitigation actions:

Increase frequency, connectivity and safety of transit options;

Increase bikeway infrastructure;Increase density and mixing of land uses;

Provide access to renewably generated electricity;

Promote community solar and microgrids;

Ensure compliance with recycling and organic waste diversion requirements.

Non-priority mitigation actions include increasing construction of zero-net emissions buildings, providing water efficiency rebates or incentives, and requiring solar panels on new construction.

The CAAP draft plan comes a few weeks after the Aquarium of the Pacific opened Pacific Visions, a two-story new wing, which carries a strong message about climate change. The $53 million exhibit aims to show the impact humans have on the earth and its oceans, and what can be done to address it.

The plan found that transportation was the largest source of greenhouse gases coming from the city. But it also addressed other contributors, such as energy and waste are also factors, said Alison Spindler, planner for Long Beach Development Services.

The main goal is to take a holistic approach of climate change, by mitigating the causes of climate change and also addressing the effects, Spindler said. One example, she said, is planting trees.

They not only cool neighborhoods during extreme heat, but they also clean the air and encourage more people to walk, Spindler said.

“Looking for those things can have co-benefits across different sectors is an important part of it,” she said. “The other thing is that research tells us that climate change is already here, it’s already impacting our health — so starting from the adaptation side makes more people realize that this is an issue that’s a priority today.”

Adaptability actions — which aim to reduce climate impacts to the city and its residents — found four sectors of need for extreme heat, air quality, drought and flooding.

The study found that extreme heat and air quality will impact areas of Central, West and North Long Beach, which already have some of the highest pollution impacts in the state. Additionally, those areas — which tend to be lower-income communities of color — will put vulnerable populations at even higher risk when incidents such as power outages occur, the CAAP found.

Approximately 275,000 residents in those parts of the city live within those “high vulnerability” areas, according to the plan. Some of the priority actions to address those issues included increasing public access to water and cooling centers.

But sea level rise and flooding — which the study projects will heavily impact the Peninsula, Naples and Belmont Shore neighborhoods — was a major point of concern for residents who live near those areas at the Saturday event.

The city projects sea levels could rise 11 inches by 2030 and 66 inches by 2100.

“I’m scared,” said Lindsey Shields, a 25-year Peninsula resident.

The CAAP established 21 short-term, medium-term and long-term goals for addressing sea level rise and flooding adaptation:

Short-term goals by 2030 — Establish a floodplain ordinance; upgrade the city’s existing stormwater management plan; conduct a citywide beach stabilization study; and flood-proof vulnerable sewer pump stations.

Medium-term goals, from 2030 to 2050 — Investigate sea level rise adaptation funding; relocate and elevate critical infrastructure; and elevate riverine levees.

Long-term goals, from 2050 to 2100 — Continue to nourish beaches; construct living shoreline and berm; retrofit and extend sea wall; and evaluate the feasibility of a storm surge barrier at Alamitos Bay.

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