Climate Action Plan
The City of Lafayette is developing its first Climate Action Plan (CAP) to provide a comprehensive and pragmatic update to our existing Sustainability Plan. The CAP will outline key actions the City will take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare our community for the impacts of climate change. The CAP also identifies climate action strategies that improve equity, increase community resilience, and protect ecosystems in Lafayette. Research, development, and prioritization of a range of actions and policies will help us identify our climate goals and ensure alignment with other City and regional plans.
Adopting a CAP is a critical step in preparing our community for the impacts of climate change. Climate change represents an ever-increasing threat to the health and well-being of Lafayette residents and beyond. GHG emissions from transportation, energy use, land use change, and other sources are changing our climate in ways that can put the community at risk. Projected heat and cold waves, decreased snowpack, severe storms, drought, and wildfire risk could threaten the City of Lafayette’s infrastructure, natural resources, and public health.
The City is exploring community solutions and individual actions that will reduce the City’s emissions, conserve our natural environment, air quality, and water, and strengthen community resilience. By acting now, the City can proactively help protect the health and well-being of our community, economy, and environment.
While weather is what we experience on a day-to-day basis, climate describes average weather conditions over a long period of time. As the climate changes, extreme weather conditions, such as extreme heat and cold, become more frequent and severe. Climate change is the resulting impact of increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) within our atmosphere. GHGs trap heat within the atmosphere and cause a gradual increase in global average temperatures. Human activities, such as driving and heating or cooling homes and businesses, emit large amounts of GHGs due to the combustion of fossil fuels.
Climate change is having huge impacts on communities across the world, including Lafayette. We are already experiencing poor air quality from increased wildfire smoke, hotter summer days, and increased risk of flooding due to climate change. We will continue to face these and other impacts, and it is the City's priority to create a plan that will begin to mitigate and adapt to current and future climate impacts.
We completed a Sustainability Plan in 2021 to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy consumption (buildings), energy production, and solid waste generation in Lafayette. While we have completed many of the recommended actions from the 2021 Sustainability Plan, we still have much work to do to reduce our emissions and ensure our community is prepared for climate impacts already here and predicted in the future beyond the strategies outlined in the original plan.
Lafayette's CAP will expand categories to include water, natural environment, transportation, etc. The goal of the CAP is to have a pragmatic, holistic, equitable, and comprehensive approach to climate strategies in Lafayette.
Lafayette is expected to have climate impacts such as extreme heat and drought. These changes lead to an increase in the frequency and severity of natural disasters such as wildfires. Lafayette has already experienced these impacts through extreme weather events such as record-breaking heat waves and poor air quality days. These impacts are harmful to the natural environment, critical resources, and the overall health of our community. The CAP will identify actions to equitably mitigate and adapt to the potential effects of climate change.
Lafayette’s community-wide emissions are currently calculated every two years. In 2019, energy production and consumption in the residential and commercial sections were responsible for 68% of Lafayette’s community-wide emissions. Transportation was responsible for 30% of emissions.
How to get involved?
How do you envision a healthy and resilient Lafayette? We want to make sure your perspective is heard so that the CAP represents your vision. Throughout the community feedback process, there will be multiple opportunities for engagement during City meetings, a public survey, community events, and two community workshops.
Over the course of 3 months (September - November), the Lafayette Sustainability and Resilience Advisory Committee meetings will include CAP updates and discussions. The public is welcome to join, virtually or in person, to stay up to date on the planning process and offer public comment.
City staff will be hosting a booth at several events throughout the fall to provide opportunities for residents to provide feedback in person.