Safety Element: S-7 Climate Adaptation and Resiliency
CLIMATE ADAPTATION AND RESILIENCY
Senate Bill 379 requires all cities to include climate adaptation and resiliency strategies to their General Plan Safety Element. The goals, policies, and objectives of this section are derived from a Climate Vulnerability Assessment, which identifies the exposure risks; sensitive structures, functions, and populations; potential impacts and risks; and the City’s adaptive capabilities. Additional reference documents include the Menifee Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (2015) and the Western Riverside Council of Governments Subregional Climate Action Plan Update (2014). It is important to note that the City is currently updating the LHMP set for adoption in late 2021 and WRCOG is currently working on a comprehensive update to the CAP that is scheduled to be adopted in late 2021 as well.
Climate change generally occurs at a global scale. However, the climate change that is currently occurring at an unprecedented rate is the direct result of intensive human-generated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Human-generated GHG emissions significantly contribute to the changes in the global climate, which have a number of physical and environmental effects. These effects include sea level rise, an increase in the frequency and intensity of droughts, and increased temperatures. Increased GHG emissions are largely the result of increasing energy consumption, particularly through the combustion of fossil fuels. These effects may also affect communities differently based on their geography, weather, environmental resources, urbanization, and populations.
Climate Change Considerations
The City of Menifee’s inland location within a naturally dry climate makes it more susceptible to the effects of climate change in the forms of increased average temperature, a greater occurrence of extreme temperature days (days with temperatures that exceed the 105.8°F extreme temperature threshold), and enhanced wildfire severity. Specific scenarios and effects are further outlined in the City of Menifee Climate Vulnerability Assessment. The potential climate change-related risks were analyzed using a continued high emissions scenario calculated by Cal-Adapt. The high GHG emissions activity used to calculate potential risks illustrates more dramatic consequences than a scenario in which emissions peak in 2040 and then decrease.
Prior to the Climate Vulnerability Assessment, the City of Menifee adopted a variety of plans, policies and reduction strategies to address climate change. The City’s General Plan Open Space and Conservation Element (OSC-9) includes Air Quality Goals and Polies; as well emissions reduction consideration in the Land Use and Circulation Elements through Policies that encourage local jobs and housing balance, improving the transportation network, and uses of neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs). In addition, the City also adopted an Active Transportation Plan (ATP) in 2020 to meet the City’s goals and vision for providing a transportation system that supports walking, cycling, public transit and automobiles. The ATP promotes programs that help reduce GHG emissions through increasing bicycling and walking; as well as improving non-motorized travel infrastructure to provide safer, walkable streets throughout the City. The City’s adopted 2015 Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP) also provides plans to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from hazards, including hazardous air emissions.
The City of Menifee is a member of the Western Riverside Council of Governments (WRCOG). WRCOG adopted a Subregional Climate Action Plan (also referred to as CAP or CAPtivate) in 2014. CAPtivate included a study on Climate Adaptation and Resiliency. The CAPtivate Adaptation and Resiliency Strategy recommends strategies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for the subregion, including Menifee. Currently, WRCOG is in the process of preparing an update and expansion to the 2014 CAPtivate, which is referred to as the CAP Update. The CAP Update will include a comprehensive update to GHG inventories and GHG emissions reduction strategies for all sectors and establishes GHG targets for the years 2030 and 2050 for all WRCOG member jurisdictions. At this time, the CAP Update has not been adopted. Furthermore, the State of California has adopted a variety of bills aimed at decreasing the State’s impact on climate change and improving the resiliency of its communities, such as the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 and SB-379.
The City of Menifee and WRCOG both have a variety of plans adopted, which each address various aspects of the potential threats outlined in the Climate Vulnerability Assessment. Both jurisdictions recognize the importance of public and private partnerships and planning for potential issues the community may face in the coming years.
- S-7: A community that has protected its sensitive structures, functions, and populations from the risks associated with climate change.
- S-7.1: Continue to require environmental analysis for proposed projects which may produce harmful levels of greenhouse gas.
- S-7.2: Ensure that the City’s water supply is protected against drought conditions intensified by climate change.
- S-7.3: Coordinate with energy providers to ensure reliable energy availability for the City’s residents.
- S-7.4: Promote alternative forms of energy production such as solar or wind power.
- S-7.5: Promote the use of climate ready architecture designed to maintain adequate indoor climate with minimal energy use.
- S-7.6: Continue to monitor potential climate risks occurring within the City.
- S-7.7: The City shall maintain consistent outreach to notify the community of extreme weather hazards such as extreme heat, severe rain events, and potential wildfire risk.
- S-7.8: The City shall communicate the location and availability of shelters in cases of hazardous climate conditions such as wildfire, severe rain events, and extreme temperatures.
- S-7.9: Promote drought resistant landscaping to continue reducing water consumption and potential fuel sources.