EDF, UCLA Answer President’s Call to Use ‘Climate Data’ to Grow Economy, Increase Resiliency

March 19, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Joaquin McPeek, 916-492-7173, jmcpeek@edf.org

(Los Angeles, CA – March 19, 2014) Today the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation announced the newest version of the “Los Angeles Solar and Efficiency Report (LASER)” a breakthrough climate mapping tool designed to help local leaders identify opportunities to invest in clean energy jobs and strengthen climate resiliency in vulnerable communities.  

The maps are a response to President Obama’s new Climate Data Initiative, a call to action to leverage climate data in order to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship in support of national climate change preparedness. EDF and UCLA are now adding additional data layers to the LASER maps and plan to expand it to include other geographic areas. The expanded version will be launched in April.

“EDF is proud to answer President Obama’s Climate Data Initiative call to action, and along with the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, we look forward to joining a national movement that leverages data-driven insights to help communities effectively prepare for the impacts of climate change,” said Jorge Madrid, Coordinator, Partnerships and Alliances, Environmental Defense Fund.

“Data mapping tools like LASER provide powerful visualizations of the harmful effects that climate change can have on our most vulnerable communities, while also highlighting opportunities for economic growth, job creation, and increased resiliency,” Madrid continued.

Using data from multiple climate models and other public data, LASER maps illustrate what climate change is going to look like in the Los Angeles region in just a few decades, with a special focus on the impacts to the 36% of Los Angeles County residents (3.6 million people) living in environmentally vulnerable communities already burdened by air pollution and other environmental hazards.  The study also finds nearly half of the state’s most vulnerable population lives in LA County.

LASER maps also highlight the region’s clean energy investment potential – in the form of rooftop solar and energy efficiency - which can reduce energy use and decrease greenhouse gases, while creating jobs and saving money.

The study also concludes:

  • Nearly 29,000 local jobs in solar panel installation could be created if merely 5 percent of the rooftop solar energy generating potential in LA County was realized.
  • Capturing this 5 percent of solar capacity would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1.25 million tons annually, equivalent to taking 250,000 cars off the road.

The new Climate Data Initiative is consistent with the President Obama’s May 2013 Executive Order on Open Data, which recognizes that freely available open government data can fuel entrepreneurship, innovation, scientific discovery, and public benefits.

What Others Are Saying about LASER:

“The LASER maps help visualize not only the stark challenge we face in preparing the LA region for the impacts of climate change, but also the enormous opportunity we have to create good jobs and economic opportunity while meeting that challenge.”

  • Kate Gordon, Vice President, Next Generation

“In its efforts to identify energy efficiency opportunities and create jobs, the Labor Management Cooperation Committee of IBEW Local 11 and Los Angeles Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association have found Profiles of Clean Energy Investment Potential in LA County to be a very valuable tool.  The profiles have helped us target our marketing efforts, provide data to local political leaders and identify job growth opportunity.”

  • Joe Sullivan, Director of Energy Solutions, IBEW/NECA/LMCC

“It’s critical that leadership in Greater Los Angeles build resilient communities as the region prepares for the impacts of climate change. The clean energy potential profiled in the LASER maps can serve as a guide to the leaders looking to achieve a cleaner, more prosperous future.”

  • Krista Kline, Managing Director, LA Regional Collaborative

"In our work providing solar to low-income families, the Atlas is a welcome and helpful tool. It is striking to so clearly see the large opportunities in LA County for clean energy investment both in terms of potential solar capacity and the region's environmental and economic needs."

  • Michael Kadish, Executive Director, GRID Alternatives-Greater Los Angeles

"These maps will give new urgency to the discussion about how we adapt to climate change at the neighborhood level.  They will help us organize for more energy efficiency programs that keep our homes cool during extreme heat days, while creating jobs and helping us transition away from dirty energy."

  • Jessica Goodheart, RePower LA Project Director, LAANE

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Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading national nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. For more information, visit www.edf.org/california. Follow us on Twitter @EDF_CA and read our blog at http://blogs.edf.org/californiadream