FROM THE MAGAZINE
Panel discussion by the California Association of Realtors:Panel discussion by the California Association of Realtors: featuring CCSC's Director Stephanie Pincetl, Karen Collins, Assistant Vice President, The American Property Casualty Insurance Association and Chief Jim McDougald, Division Chief, State of California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. California’s commitment to advancing ambitious climate goals cannot ignore the impact of wildfires on communities across the state and the need for protection, policies, and resiliency measures to mitigate the most damaging effects of climate change. As wildfires and heat waves become commonplace concerns in the state, it’s clear that California needs a comprehensive action plan to reduce wildfire risk, improve environmental conditions, adapt insurance needs, and accelerate action to combat climate change. Additionally, it’s important to consider how we can empower property owners, homeowners, local governments, and pertinent stakeholders to proactively reduce wildfire hazards to minimize the loss of property and life and be active participants in advancing effective solutions. Among the key approaches to wildfire resiliency and preparation is collaboration with the insurance industry to ensure protective policies are available and affordable for all Californians who are at risk of climate change-intensified wildfires. Join us for a wide-ranging discussion that will cover such topics, including climate change trends, efforts to build resiliency to protect communities, and the future of housing development in a wildfire-prone state.
Dr. Pincetl comments to LA Times: Southern California ‘cannot afford green lawns’ as drought forces unprecedented water cuts
“Lawns do well with about 30 inches of rain a year. Do we get 30 inches of rain a year? I don’t think so,” Pincetl said. Los Angeles receives about half that amount in a typical year. “So if you want to have water to drink, water to do all the stuff you do inside, bathe your children, do your laundry, using water on a lawn just seems foolish,” Pincetl said.
One downside to the understandable focus on greenhouse-gas mitigation is that more place-specific environmental considerations, including the destruction of traditional landscapes, can get lost. “I think this approach to carbon-dioxide mitigation is a new regime of trying to justify the same kind of development,” Stephanie Pincetl, a professor at U.C.L.A. whose research focusses on land use and the environment, told me. “It’s very clever and extremely insidious because it doesn’t change anything: it doesn’t address structural racism, it doesn’t address affordability, it doesn’t address the climate, it doesn’t address resource impacts, it doesn’t address anything except on paper.”
UCLA’s Stephanie Pincetl, another co-author, said part of the problem may be due to the Jevons paradox, a phenomenon that occurs when a technological advance or government policy improves the efficiency of how a resource is used but leads to an increase in consumption as a direct result of that efficiency gain. “People think they can increase consumption without increasing their bills, so they use more,” said Pincetl, who is director of the California Center for Sustainable Communities at UCLA.
The fuel isn’t the only thing that will change at the plant. “We know that the coal-fired power plant provides lots of jobs where it is for local residents,” says Stephanie Pincetl, director of the California Center for Sustainable Communities and professor-in-residence at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. “It also pollutes the air. It also uses water, all these issues. A transition to natural gas will continue to generate a fair amount of employment. When you move to renewables, to solar, it doesn’t have that kind of employment benefit. So part of the dilemma for the just transition is the jobs dilemma.”
Dr. Pincetl Speaks to UCLA Alumni Town Hall: Climate Change and Sustainability