San Diego Adopts Unprecedented Climate Action Plan

The plan received unanimous, bipartisan support Tuesday

In a unanimous vote, the San Diego City Council approved the final draft of a climate action plan that would cut greenhouse gas emissions in half and switch the city to solely renewable energy by 2035.

Worried about warnings of climate change's stark impacts on weather and residents' health, city leaders gave their bipartisan support to what they called a bold environmental strategy.

“This was truly a collaborative and group effort in every sense of the word,” said Faulconer. “Everybody that stands up here today represents the widespread support and that all of us have been working together for the city's climate action plan.”

Under the strategy, San Diego would be 100 percent reliant on clean energy and 50 percent reliant on mass transit within 20 years.

The plan also makes San Diego the first city in California to approve a climate action plan that uses CalEnviroScreen. The metric identifies and prioritizes zip codes with the highest levels of pollution.

Leaders use that metric to improve transit, biking and walking and to evaluate their progress.

“Today, San Diego positions itself as a national leader by becoming the largest city in the U.S. to commit to 100% clean energy,” said Nicole Capretz, executive director of the Climate Action Campaign, in a release. “Following on the heels of the landmark agreement in Paris, we are showing cities around the world how to create a better, cleaner and healthier future to protect the people and places we love.”

Critics say the goals are not realistic and will affect the budgets of local households while requiring people to adjust their lifestyles and business operations.

The city plans to replace 50 percent of its fleet with electric vehicles by 2030, and 90 percent of those vehicles will be electric by 2035.

The climate action plan sets the following goals:

  • Create green jobs through incentive-based policies, like solar panel manufacturing and installation
  • Improve public health by removing harmful air pollutants and improving water quality
  • Reduce dependence on imported water and energy
  • Help homebuyers educate themselves on the energy and water usage of a building before buying it without adding significant delays or cost
  • Enhance quality of life by supporting active transpiration, planting trees and reducing landfill waste
  • Save taxpayer dollars by decreasing municipal water, waste and energy usage in city-owned buildings

Read the full climate action plan by clicking here.

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