Los Angeles is taking on the challenge of transitioning from relying on the local fossil fuel industry and oil wells to greener energy sources and jobs, ensuring no one is left behind in the process.

The City of Los Angeles is home to the largest urban oil field in the world. Many of the roughly 2,930 active and idle oil wells in the city and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County are located in residential neighbourhoods near community parks and schools. As the city and county worked to advance policies to phase out oil drilling through ordinances approved in 2022 and 2023, a key consideration was to ensure that impacted workers and communities would not be left behind. 

Understanding that most successful economic outcomes occur when local governments plan early and take a community-centred approach, the city partnered with the county to establish a Just Transition Task Force. The Task Force comprises labour groups, workforce development experts, environmental justice leaders, the oil industry, Tribal Nations, academic institutions, and state and local governments and was tasked with developing recommendations for meeting the needs of impacted workers and communities throughout the phase-out. 

Since 2021, LA’s Just Transition Task Force has:

  • conducted primary research with oil extraction workers to develop a framework for a just transition that supports them and their communities as oil drilling and extraction are phased out;
  • released LA’s first-ever Just Transition Strategy, which includes 19 specific recommendations for workers in oil drilling to find new employment, properly remediating closing oil wells and engaging frontline communities in land use redevelopment planning and leveraging public and private funds to finance the transition;
  • and developed a federal partnership in coordination with the Department of Energy to enlist participation from the Energy Communities Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization.

With the C40 Inclusive Climate Action (ICA) Cities Fund support, Los Angeles will continue to ensure frontline communities are not left behind in the ambitious step towards a green and just transition of oil phase-out by creating a Workers Advisory Council and ongoing continuity of its Just Transition Task Force. This will provide continuous input, guidance and feedback directly to the city and county and identify additional needs throughout the phase-out process. This includes the development of a menu of “opt-in” support options to address additional worker and family support needs – like housing, health and wellness, and financial concerns – which are not covered by existing opportunities, as well as identifying and securing sustainable funding to resource the city’s Just Transition Strategy.

The C40 Inclusive Climate Action (ICA) Cities Fund is designed to help cities develop and implement climate projects with equity and inclusion principles at their core. As part of the 2023 programme, C40 is supporting six global cities to develop and deliver climate projects over a 12 month period that are inclusive, fair and benefit all residents. Learn more about the ICA Cities Fund.

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