PRESS RELEASE: City Council Approves Ryu Motion to Cut Pollution with Telecommuting Incentives

LOS ANGELES - The City Council approved a motion today introduced by Councilmember David Ryu to incentivize telecommuting options among private businesses. The motion seeks to encourage businesses to adopt remote work policies, allowing more workers to work from home, reducing commuter traffic, as well as carbon emissions and smog.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  

August 26, 2020

 

Contact for Councilmember Ryu:

Mark Pampanin

mark.pampanin@lacity.org

213.407.7616

 

City Council Approves Motion to Cut Pollution with Telecommuting Incentives

 

LOS ANGELES - The City Council approved a motion today introduced by Councilmember David Ryu to incentivize telecommuting options among private businesses. The motion seeks to encourage businesses to adopt remote work policies, allowing more workers to work from home, reducing commuter traffic, as well as carbon emissions and smog.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to adapt a remote work and telecommuting model,” Councilmember Ryu said. “This also happens to be the more climate-friendly model, and it should be the future of work in Los Angeles. I’m proud to see the City Council take this step to tackle climate change, reduce traffic and build a healthier future by changing the way we commute.”

The motion instructs City departments and agencies to report back on the health and economic costs related to unhealthy levels of smog, carbon monoxide and fine particulate matter, also known as PM2.5, one of the most harmful forms of air pollution. The motion also seeks a cost comparison on telecommuting versus traditional work settings, including the cost of renting office space, furniture and utilities. It further seeks financial and tax relief options to incentivize private industry to adopt flexible work schedules and increased telecommuting options.

After decades of progress, the air quality in Los Angeles has been worsening in recent years, disportionately harming Black, Latino, and Asian communities. Los Angeles had 153 days of unhealthy PM2.5 levels in 2019, which has been linked to respiratory illnesses like asthma.  According to Physicians for Social Responsibility, air pollution related illness costs Los Angeles roughly $22 billion a year. 

Los Angeles saw significantly cleaner air at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and Safer at Home order. A recent study from UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability found a 20 percent gain in air quality in Southern California, and statewide traffic reductions of 80 percent since the Safer at Home order took effect.

However, these gains may be short-lived without progressive policy changes. Immediately following the financial crisis of 2008, global CO2 emissions decreased by 1.4 percent, only to rise by 5.9 percent in 2010.

Read the motion here.

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Assistant City Council President Pro Tempore David E. Ryu represents Los Angeles’ 4th Council District which includes Griffith Park, Sherman Oaks, Toluca Lake, Hollywood, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Miracle Mile, Hancock Park, Windsor Square, Larchmont and portions of Koreatown and Van Nuys.


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