‘This Is Not Fine’: Los Angeles controller calls for changes to city’s Green New Deal

This week, Los Angeles City Controller Kenneth Mejia and his office released an assessment of the city’s Green New Deal, a 2019 plan to combat climate change.

As the title “This Is Not Fine” probably indicates, the reviews were less than stellar.

The report, the title and cover of which presciently reference the famous “This is fine” meme showing a dog calmly drinking coffee in a room set ablaze, notes that Earth, like the comic room in the meme, faces imminent danger from heat.

“2023 turned out to be the hottest summer on record – scientists say July was the hottest month in 120,000 years. UN Secretary General António Guterres warned last fall, ‘We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator,’ the report’s executive summary begins. “While a promising start for climate action, LA’s 2019 ‘Green New Deal’ is in urgent need of a
reboot. When unveiled four years ago, the ‘Green New Deal’ was described as a ‘greenprint’
for ‘a moral imperative, an environmental emergency and an economic opportunity.’ But
today it has largely outlived its usefulness.”

For one, the L.A. Green New Deal lacks ways to measure progress, which also makes it more difficult for next steps to be established, Mejia’s office said, especially when it comes to the most influential causes of climate change.

“Given what former Mayor Garcetti described as ‘the existential threat of climate change,’ the small number of [measurable results] in the Green New Deal fall short of a comprehensive and actionable set of steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the primary driver of climate change,” the report says.

Several other large cities also are lagging in their efforts to fight climate change, Mejia’s office said, but L.A. needs to be a leader, and that will require a “generational shift” and “major (and uncomfortable) changes that are politically difficult.”

“We are past the stage of changing light bulbs, carrying our groceries in reusable bags and virtue signaling by driving a Prius or Tesla. Collective action and systemic change are required to tackle the climate crisis,” the report says.

In a statement to the Los Angeles Times, Zach Seidl, deputy mayor of communications for Mayor Karen Bass, promised to work together with “any willing partners ready to take action on this important issue.”

“Building on the success announced thus far, Mayor Bass will continue to lead Los Angeles to a new era of sustainability that supports front-line communities while making major investments in energy efficiency while creating good-paying jobs in the process,” Seidl said.

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