A plan calling for everything from alternative fuel vehicles to an approach of "managed retreat" from the coast is expected to come before the Long Beach City Council in December of January for final approval.

The council received an update on the plan last Tuesday, Oct. 20.

Work began in 2016 on the city's Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP). It is designed to meet greenhouse gas reduction levels mandated by the state, address expected sea level rise and make Long Beach a sustainable city.

CAAP has been developed through the city's Development Services Department aided by the Office of Sustainability and overseen by the Planning Commission. Larry Rich is the sustainability coordinator.

"I am very excited to see the CAAP coming to fruition and the urgent actions it will call for," Rich said via email. "Becoming a sustainable city has always been about balancing and improving the three E’s of economy, equity and environment. One example that is at the top of my list is investment in the urban forest using local youth labor. The trees we plant today will help protect us for decades to come against increased heat, air pollution and flooding, while providing local green jobs and livable neighborhoods."

Those trees play a big part in the equity component of the plan, which calls for trees to go first to low income neighborhoods. Economy and ethnicity correlate with communities most impacted by climate change, and creation of a green canopy of trees is a first step to addressing that, the CAAP says.

A draft of the plan was released in June 2019. Community meetings and three separate working groups have been refining it since then.

Sea level rise, caused by global warming, has increased the area at risk of flooding. According to the report, 22,000 residents are currently at risk of exposure to flooding in 100-year storm surge, and that number will grow without action.

One of the systems at risk if sea level rise pushes high tide and storm surge further inland is the city's sewer system. The report calls for updating the sewer management plan and potentially protect or move infrastructure.

Other recommendations in the report include transitioning to more sustainable sources of electricity, increasing residential water and energy conservation, recycling organic waste and reduce emissions from oil production operations — and ultimately ending oil production.

Jennifer Ly of Development Services told the council the CAAP team will finalize goals and tweak action items to finish the plan and get it back to the council in the next two or three months for adoption. Once that happens, the plan has to go through the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process before the environmental component and plan document can be adopted. That could happen next summer.

To review the plan, go to longbeach.gov/lbds/planning/caap/. Questions should be emailed to Jennifer.Ly@longbeach.gov.

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to clarify the document comes from the Development Services Department.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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