LA City Council Approves Plan to Transition to 100% Carbon-free Energy

Provisions for biogas and hydrogen draw criticism from environmental groups who urge community-based solutions like wind and solar power with local green jobs


Climate and Energy

For Immediate Release

Los Angeles, CA — After a two-week delay, the L.A. City Council ECCJR Committee approved motions today to move the city to 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2035 and to ensure good jobs that build and maintain a robust and resilient clean energy economy. The move puts L.A. on a faster track to clean energy than that of the state as a whole, but raises questions about what “carbon-free” really means.

“While the City Council’s leadership on these motions is spot-on, we clearly have more work to do,” said Jasmin Vargas, Senior Organizer with Food & Water Watch. “The IPCC report makes it plain that we need to stop greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. To do that, LA needs to rapidly phase out dirty energy and instead, double down on expanding community-based solutions that create local union jobs like local solar with batteries, energy efficiency and electrification. It is time LA cuts ties with the oil and gas industry and rejects their false solutions like bio gas and large-scale hydrogen power.”

At issue are the inclusion of fossil fuel industry-backed solutions like biogas that stand in opposition to community-centered solutions like local solar with batteries and electrification. Food & Water Watch had already delivered letters to the Council signed by community organizations that oppose factory farm biogas — composed of methane, a major climate accelerant singled out in the IPCC report as a top priority to reduce — and hydrogen from fracked gas. Representatives from multiple organizations and communities around L.A. testified in favor of community-based clean energy solutions that expand access to local clean energy jobs.

“While it’s labeled as clean energy, hydrogen power is often generated from fossil fuels or burning biomass in plants that pollute communities,” said Maya Golden-Krasner, Deputy Director and Senior Attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. “By greenwashing hydrogen, proponents divert resources from what we truly need to address the climate crisis – a phaseout of fossil fuels and robust investment in affordable clean-energy solutions like distributed wind and solar.”

“Our common fight for an equitable transition to 100% clean energy for Los Angeles requires bold action and thoughtful planning. We’re excited to see an accelerated timeline of 2035, however our city needs more than just an ambitious timeline. How we get there is just as important,” said Francis Yang, Senior Organizer for Sierra Club’s My Generation Campaign. “Los Angeles can’t afford to replace one dirty fuel with another like biomass or hydrogen. Our road ahead will require constant engagement from the public to center frontline and environmental justice communities for emissions reductions as well as good, family-paying jobs. Getting LA 100 done right is critical to set the precedent for the rest of the country.”

Contact: Phoebe Galt, [email protected]