Letter to the Editor: Adopting an updated Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan is a Positive Step


Letter to the Editor:

We all know that climate change is having significant and lasting impacts across the planet.  In Burbank, the average maximum temperature is expected to rise between 5.1° and 10.3° Fahrenheit by 2100.  Additionally, the annual number of extreme heat days (with temperatures greater than 99.6° Fahrenheit) is projected to increase from zero (in 2005) to approximately 38 days by the end of the century.

Burbank is rising to meet this existential threat with both bold and realistic solutions to significantly curb our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 and beyond.  On Tuesday evening, the Burbank City Council unanimously adopted an updated Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan (GGRP).  It includes many lofty goals and strategies to:

  • Achieve 100% GHG-neutral electricity generation by 2040
  • Electrify 100% of new building construction by 2023
  • Increase zero-emission vehicle adoption to 100% of all passenger vehicles by 2045
  • Reduce per capita water consumption to 124 gallons per capita per day by 2030
  • Plant 2,000 net new trees by 2030

You can read the updated GGRP in its entirety on the City of Burbank’s website by visiting: https://www.burbankca.gov/web/community-development/climate-action-plan.

Admittedly, the updated GGRP is far from perfect. For example, we must achieve 100% renewable energy on a much faster timeline than that contemplated in the GGRP.  2040 is simply not soon enough! 

However, I also believe that this updated GGRP includes many ambitious goals and strategies that will help us to ultimately achieve carbon neutrality and mitigate the effects of climate change.  I was proud that it received the unanimous support of the entire Burbank City Council. 

In many ways, this updated GGRP creates a “Green New Deal” for the residents of Burbank.  None of this would have been possible without the tireless work of city staff and many community stakeholders, including Nikki Perez, Tom Pike, the Sunrise Movement Los Angeles, and our Sustainable Burbank Commission members.  Thank you to all of the advocates and community leaders who fought hard to get this far! 

Our work is not yet complete, but I think we’re off to an excellent start.


Nick Schultz
Burbank City Council Member

    UMe Schools


    1. Dear Burbankers:

      I am grateful that Councilman Schultz has weighed in on the climate. By now, we have all heard these concerns from officials in federal, state, county and city government; we have been advised by our family and friends, and given recommendations by the stakeholders including vehicle manufacturers.

      I have a few recommendations for our City leaders so that they can do their part here.

      BurbankBus operates mostly empty. The evidence of this is here: https://bit.ly/3Pacink or you can look at them as they drive by. As a result of Metro Micro’s taxpayer-funded on-demand $1 rideshare program, BurbankBus has become an anachronism in Burbank. These vehicles use fossil fuel and generate greenhouse gases. I rode the Metro Micro and here is the video of my experience: https://youtu.be/xsKnl_xKarE It would be prudent for the City to stop the BurbankBus program and sell the vehicles.

      The City has a hydrogen fueling station. Hydrogen is a clean, renewable fuel. It would be prudent for the City to expand the use of hydrogen fuel cell technology for the city’s larger vehicles such as the automated bin collection trucks and all of the City’s bigger vehicles. AB1890 provides for substantial funds for beneficial programs and the City could use some of the AB1890 funds to build a local hydrogen generation plant. I spoke with Eric Miller, a senior advisor at the U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen Program, led by the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO) within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) who would gladly liaise with the City if asked.

      I oppose taxpayer and ratepayer funding of charging stations. Considering that the wealthiest man in the world is the CEO of an electric vehicle manufacturer that has a dealership in Burbank, I would ask that the City reach out to the manufacturers to pay the full cost of installing charging stations. I feel that it is only fair that they do so as opposed to the current practice of using taxpayer or ratepayer funds to build public charging stations that are only used by the owners of electric vehicles. Electric vehicle owners are already receiving taxpayer-funded rebates in most instances. I noticed that in other cities, the vehicle manufacturers do install charging stations. They would have no incentive to do so if taxpayers and ratepayers are already paying to install them. I believe this practice must change in fairness to our pocketbooks. We already pay 10.25% sales tax, a rate higher than Los Angeles, and we are paying 7% on our utilities for the in lieu transfer to fund so many other programs that the City claims Burbankers want. I believe it would be proper for the City to conduct a survey of Burbankers to determine their opinion of who should pay for charging stations. This survey can be a URL provided on the Burbank Water and Power billing and would cost the City virtually nothing other than staff time.

      I invite you to watch a couple of videos.

      Graham Conway discusses why there is no such thing as a zero emissions vehicle and it makes sense to me: https://youtu.be/S1E8SQde5rk

      MIT professor of meteorology Richard Lindzen: https://youtu.be/pwvVephTIHU

      I am grateful that Councilman Schultz cares and I do care. That said, I am looking to our local leaders to accomplish a few things as our local elected officials:

      1. Establish and enforce a balanced budget (this is not happening–we pay a local sales tax and in lieu taxes to make up for an unbalanced budget)

      2. Ensure public safety.

      3. Maintain safe, reliable utilities.

      4. Maintain our roads in good condition (not so happy about them right now).

      5. Ensure a business-friendly environment, ensuring rapid approval of permits and licenses.

      6. Develop common-sense objectives and priorities.

      7. Oversee program effectiveness.

      8. Modify the city’s charter when appropriate and pass or rescind ordinances.

      9. Respond to constituent needs and concerns.

      10. Represent the community in dealing with other levels of government.

      There are other matters that come up along the way.

      I would hope that the City would examine its current programs and consider the above changes to their use of fossil fuels and end the taxpayer funding of charging stations so that the factories and users of these vehicles are fully responsible for the cost of their operation. BurbankBus is a generator of greenhouse gases and considering that they are virtually always empty, I am hopeful that program will be ended very soon. If you agree (or disagree) you can email the City Manager Justin Hess at JHess@burbankca.gov.

      Thank you for taking the time to read this post.

      Christopher Matthew Spencer
      Burbank business owner since 1989 and resident since 1991

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