Hayward Climate Action Plan Update
What is a Climate Action Plan (CAP)?
A Climate Action Plan (CAP) is a jurisdiction’s plan for addressing climate change via reducing the community’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. CAPs outline strategies, policies, and programs that will reduce community GHGs and improve the quality of life in Hayward. GHGs are gases, such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane, that trap heat in the atmosphere, creating the global phenomenon, climate change.
As GHG levels continue to increase and threaten our health and safety, CAPs are becoming more important than ever. The Hayward CAP Update will:
- Set reduction goals for community GHG emissions;
- Establish a time frame to meet those goals;
- Plan for how community growth will affect emissions;
- Create a roadmap of different strategies, programs, and policies that will allow Hayward to reduce emissions and meet their GHG emission goals; and
- Establish a framework for ongoing measurement of GHGs.
Hayward’s original CAP was adopted by the City Council on July 28, 2009, and then updated and incorporated into the City’s General Plan in 2014.
Why is climate planning important?
State law (specifically SB 32) requires every jurisdiction to reduce its fair share of GHG emissions and meet State emission goals. The previous CAP addressed meeting State GHG goals for 2020 (per AB32), and this CAP Update will establish actions to meet State goals for 2030 and show progress to meet the State’s ultimate goal of carbon neutrality by 2045.
Hayward’s current GHG emission targets are:
- 30 percent below 2005 emissions levels by 2025;
- 55 percent below 2005 emissions levels by 2030; and
- Carbon neutrality by 2045.
Currently, our frontline communities are being hit first and worst by the climate crisis. Through climate planning, climate solutions can center racial equity to help equitably achieve the City’s climate goals.
Successful climate planning results in co-benefits, including lower energy costs, reduced air pollution, supported economic development and increased community resilience and adaptive capacity. The reduction of GHGs also helps improve the quality of life for residents in the community.
Why should you care about climate change?
Climate change is the alteration in the average weather of the Earth that is measured by modifications in wind patterns, storms, precipitation, and temperature. These changes are assessed using historical records of temperature changes occurring in the past, such as during previous ice ages.
Warming affects global atmospheric circulation and temperatures; oceanic circulation and temperatures; wind and weather patterns; average sea level; ocean acidification; chemical reaction rates; precipitation rates, timing, and form; snowmelt timing and runoff flow; water supply; wildfire risks; and other phenomena, in ways collectively referred to as climate change.
Climate change is a global problem because GHGs, while produced at the local level, are global pollutants and can affect weather patterns globally. This is different from criteria air pollutants and hazardous air pollutants (i.e., toxic air contaminants like exhaust from a car tailpipe) that are pollutants of regional and local concern.
Potential impacts of climate change in California include:
- A reduction in the quality and supply water from the Sierra snowpack;
- Increased risk of large wildfires;
- Reduction in quality and quantity of certain agricultural products;
- Exacerbation of air quality problems;
- A rise in sea levels resulting in the displacement of coastal businesses and residences ;
- An increase in temperature and extreme weather events; and
- A decrease in health and productivity of California’s forests.
The City of Hayward’s goal is to provide a safe, healthy, and vibrant community and recognizes that doing so requires balancing a growing economy, population, and demand for resources and services while mitigating, reducing, and preventing impacts of climate change.
What is the scope of the CAP Update?
Determining and developing Hayward-specific GHG reduction actions (known as policies, programs, and strategies) is the scope of the Hayward CAP Update.
To determine and develop Hayward-specific GHG reduction actions, Hayward first must determine their fair share emission reduction targets to limit human-induced global warming. Once the emission reduction targets are set, business-as-usual GHG emissions will be calculated (based on State and regional laws and programs that will result in GHG emission reductions, such as increased vehicle fuel economy standards and more energy-efficient building codes). Then, based on Hayward’s GHG emission reduction targets, the remaining amount of GHG emissions reductions needed will be calculated. Policies, programs, and strategies will then be identified to address the GHG emission reduction that is needed.
The scope of the CAP Update includes:
- Conduct GHG Forecasting Analysis
- Four City Staff Workshops (virtual)
- Four Community Workshops (virtual)
- Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Strategies (as a part of the Safety Element update)
- Identify GHG Reduction Strategies, Policies, and Programs
- Analyze and Project GHG Emission Reductions from the potential Strategies, Policies, and Programs
- Quantify Costs Associated with potential programs
- Prepare Funding and Financing Strategy for potential programs
- Prepare CAP update document and General Plan GHG Policies update
- Provide CAP Update Implementation Tracking Instruments
- Conduct Environmental Review (allows CAP update to be a “qualified GHG reduction plan” as defined in the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines)
- Create CEQA GHG Streamlining Checklist and GHG Thresholds (allows development projects within the City to tier from the programmatic CAP CEQA analysis for project-level GHG emissions analyses in order to demonstrate consistency with the State and City reduction targets and CEQA Guidelines)