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Del Mar Climate Action Plan Passage Could Influence Other Cities

Photo credit: City of Del Mar

The cover of Del Mar's draft Climate Action Plan, June 2, 2016.

Del Mar could be the first city in San Diego County to follow the example of San Diego's environmental goals.

The Del Mar City Council will consider a draft Climate Action Plan Monday night. The plan contains benchmarks similar to the ambitious goals adopted by the city of San Diego last year.

Nicole Capretz, director of the environmental advocacy group Climate Action Campaign, said Del Mar has the advantage of being a smaller city and therefore more nimble.

“While the city of San Diego is the first out of the gate to put a marker in the sand and say, 'We will cut our carbon footprint in half, we will get to 100 percent clean energy,' I think it’s the smaller cities that are going to be the first and the best at implementation," Capretz said.

Several cities around San Diego County are on the verge of approving updated climate action plans, which will add to a growing momentum for change, Capretz said.

“I think everyone was waiting to see if other cities would embrace that same goal," Capretz said. "And I feel like Del Mar is the first one out of the gate to say, 'We agree — let’s make this a regional target and let’s tell the market, and tell the utility, are you with us? If you're not with us, that's fine because we have an alternative pathway.'"

Del Mar specifies in its plan that one option to fulfill its goals would be to join a Community Choice Energy plan (also called Community Choice Aggregation) to purchase clean energy at a lower cost.

Del Mar, Solana Beach and Carlsbad are also considering the possibility of joining Community Choice plans that provide an alternative to the energy sources provided by SDG&E, Capretz said.

Del Mar’s plan includes a greenhouse gas emissions inventory that shows about 20 percent of emissions come from residential energy use, while 48 percent comes from vehicle trips that start and end in Del Mar but include travel outside city limits.

The plan sets a goal of reducing greenhouse gasses by 15 percent from 2012 levels by 2020. It estimates some greenhouse gas reductions will come from state-level policies, but meeting the goals will need local policies, like providing low-interest loans for making homes more energy efficient or installing solar panels.

The plan acknowledges that, “regardless of current and future mitigation efforts, climate change will still occur,” and the city will need to adapt to reduced water availability, coastal flooding and wildfires.

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