KLA Perspectives

New Year, New Climate Action Promises, New Resources to Deliver

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Jan 26, 2022 1:38:59 PM

Whether it feels like it or not, 2022 is a NEW year! It's a chance to renew your individual and community commitment to aggressive climate action. And we've got you covered with the following free resources: 

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Plan Design: 15 Tips to Make Your Climate Action Plan Pop

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Dec 15, 2021 9:40:34 PM

Don't Let Design of Your Plan

Be an Afterthought 

You’ve dedicated significant time and energy to your climate or sustainability plan, and you want it to show. Long after the months of community outreach, stakeholder meetings, technical analysis, internal wrangling and final launch, this the final stamp you’ve left – how it will be remembered.

You want a professional product that reflects the process that it took to get there. A plan that tells the story of your climate and sustainability journey and goals in a visual way that spurs action.

Which is why the design of your final plan actually needs to start on day one and be integrated throughout. When we say “design” we mean both the creative piece (icons, images, etc) and the content organization.

At KLA we work with several design consultants to deliver our clients’ plans and other design needs, and we chatted recently with one of them – Terri Courtemarche of Scouter Design – to pull together 15 best practice tips and examples for plan design.

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Electric Vehicles for Local Governments: Tipsheet, Resources + Webinar Recording

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Dec 14, 2021 10:54:37 AM

You can't escape the daily headlines about electric vehicles. And, no, we're not talking about the reaction to Time magazine naming Tesla CEO Elon Musk their Person of the Year.

Read/listen to/watch the news and you know that EVs are surging in popularity and everyone from auto manufacturers to elected officials can see the writing on the wall: EVs represent a huge opportunity for climate action. 

Here are just a recent headlines:

Biden plan seeks to jumpstart rollout of electric vehicle charging stations

Electric Vehicles May Control Half of Major Markets by 2030, Auto Execs Predict

Electric vehicles listed as top priority by mayors in new U.S. Conference of Mayors report

Toyota to invest $35 billion into battery-powered EVs and roll out 30 models by 2030

 

Thus our Climate Solutions Series webinar on EVs on December 8th was well-timed and well-attended. 

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COP26, Implementation Blueprints and Meeting Climate Goals

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Nov 17, 2021 9:22:57 AM

A Pledge is Nice. Plans are Important. But Implementation is How We Sink or Swim. 

 

There were too many newsworthy headlines coming out of COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, to count. Perhaps the image that will most define this international climate conference is that of the Tuvalu foreign minister giving his remarks -- "we are sinking" -- standing knee-deep in water to represent the threats to his and many other island nations from the climate crisis.

The point was very painfully made that we aren't moving as fast and as aggressively as we need to stop the most devastating impacts of climate change. 

The focus at COP26 was often on the goals that countries are setting, pledges they are making. 

At the local government level here in the US, many of us have already set ambitious goals and have crafted climate action plans that break down how we'll reach those goals through a series of actions that usually span the key sectors: buildings, energy, transportation and waste. COP26 saw even more commitments by or directly impacting local governments – the Clean Construction Coalition is just one example – that we hope will be an impetus for even more action.

Our challenge -- the one that will affect our communities and faraway sinking nations like Tuvalu -- is to take those promises, quickly turn them into action plans and then IMPLEMENT.

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Climate Solutions Webinar December 8: Electric Vehicles

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Nov 5, 2021 9:27:01 AM

Electric Vehicles and Mobility the focus of third webinar in series on high impact GHG reduction strategies for local governments

Experts tell us that we have less than a decade to significantly reduce GHG emissions to avoid the most dire impacts of climate change. This means local governments must take aggressive action now.

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For Climate Action Plans, Think Outside the PDF

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Oct 20, 2021 10:26:16 AM

5 Common Mistakes and

5 Ways to Get Out of this Rut

 

We all know the drill. The planning drill. You compile mounds of data, loop in all the right stakeholders, host the community meetings, factor in all the feedback, write the plan, work with a designer to make it look nice, and present it to the powers that be. After that maybe you take a nap, but then it’s off to the implementation races.

But where does that leave your plan and – more importantly – your community?

If the answer is that your plan lives primarily as a PDF document (even a fancy, professionally designed one) on your local government website, that’s a problem….that we can help fix.

In our many years of talking with local government staff about this process, the following scenarios emerge over and over again:

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This Framework Can Institutionalize Your Climate + Sustainability Goals

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Sep 22, 2021 1:34:08 PM

We need rapid, bold action to fight the climate crisis. But we also need lasting solutions, and ones that aren’t confined to certain departments or that check off a few boxes – EV charging stations, some solar installations – in a climate action plan and call it a day. 

One of the tools we use at KLA to institutionalize our clients’ core sustainability and climate principles is a Sustainability or Climate Action Framework.

Watch a Video Overview

A Framework of this nature can be developed and deployed before, during or after a planning process and becomes a living document that local governments use to design, assess or screen a program, project or initiative to ensure it’s a net positive for the community’s core values.  The Framework can take many forms and be a simple set of criteria with some guiding questions (Example A below) or something more complex with a rating system (Example B below).  As the video below shows, this is basically a spreadsheet (but we make it look nice!) with several tabs that cover: summary, the framework, definitions, examples and metrics. Regardless of the exact format, the important part is that you’re considering the implications early in project development not as an afterthought or when it is too late to correct course.

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22 Standard Metrics That Drive Climate Action

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Aug 30, 2021 1:52:18 PM

We are data nerds. We own it. We’re also passionate about stopping the climate crisis. Fortunately, those two are a good combination.

In fact, we’d argue aggressive, impactful climate action hinges entirely on how you – we’re looking at you, local government leaders – harness data. I wrote about our data-driven approach last month, and our Community Dashboard platform is where you can see how we use data for storytelling.


If you don’t get goosebumps thinking about the potential for Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT), GIS floodplain data, waste tonnage or building square footage, don’t worry we’ve got you covered. This is just some of what the data we had access to (courtesy of the Planning Department) for the Thrive Indianapolis plan's Transportation and Land Use section:

 


We develop climate action plans for local governments around the clock – for small towns and giant cities and counties – and, through years of experience, we have identified some standard metrics. The table below (or downloadable here) breaks them down by category, why each data point is useful, and where to find it.

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Is Data at the Center of Your Climate Action Plan? Here's Why It Should Be.

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Jul 28, 2021 2:41:37 PM

Last week the entire KLA Team gathered together in Boston for a team retreat, a focus of which was the importance of our data-driven approach to local government climate action planning. So we asked Kim to share a few key takeaways about the critical role that data plays in accelerating climate action. 

 

Why do local governments need a plan? We’re already doing a ton on climate -- can’t we just keep doing it without hitting pause for a plan?  

 

KIM: Yes, you’re already taking action. No, you most definitely should not stop that action for a planning process. But you need a plan to guide you to take the right actions. Think of it as a workplan to help meet your goals. At KLA we design our plans to be super actionable. You won’t solve climate change with a random set of actions – or with setting generic goals like “electrify everything by 2050.” Certainly not at the pace and scope of what’s required in the year 2021 with a critical decade for action.

 

We have to shift the conversation from WHAT should we do to HOW do we do it.

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Combine In-Person + Virtual Engagement Strategies: Tools + Tips for the New Normal

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Jun 30, 2021 11:26:58 AM

As more and more Americans return to offices, schools, restaurants and an overall sense of normalcy, we’re all easing out of the gates as we explore the most effective ways to engage our communities in important conversations about climate change, sustainability, resilience and equity. What we’re finding reflects the status of the country as a whole: some folks are ready to dive back into in-person meetings and events while others would prefer – for logistical or health reasons – that virtual options remain in place.

That means local governments with planning initiatives underway or about to launch need to craft a hybrid engagement model – and that, in turn, will require creativity, new technologies and mindsets, and some investment of time and resources.


5 reasons people will be eager for in-person meetings:

  1. Zoom fatigue. It’s for real.
  2. Reconnect with and meet neighbors.
  3. A basic desire for human interaction, fresh air and to get out of the house.
  4. More hands-on brainstorming and discussion opportunities.
  5. Community events like farmers markets and concerts are up and running. For local governments seeking input you go where people are already.


5 reasons people might want to keep virtual options:

  1. Health concerns.
  2. Don’t have to worry about parking, childcare or time in transit, plus it’s easier for people with limited mobility or access to transit to participate.
  3. Some folks – introverts and otherwise -- have discovered they just feel more comfortable in a Zoom-type setting.
  4. Wider range of accessibility tools like closed captioning and, in some cases, translation.
  5. Greater flexibility for people to participate even if they are traveling or to engage expert speakers who might not be local.

Taking all those considerations into account, it’s clear that at least for the foreseeable future local governments will need some combination of in-person and virtual engagement options to truly involve the full spectrum of the community.

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