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City of San Diego Details Ambitious Climate Action Plan

The plan could cut the city’s greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2035

Photo by Tarryn Mento

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer shakes the hand of Council President Todd Gloria at a press conference unveiling the mayor's climate action plan, Sept. 30, 2014

A more detailed look at the city of San Diego's ambitious climate action plan includes specific strategies for how to get all energy from renewable sources and dramatically reduce car use.

A more detailed look at the city of San Diego's ambitious climate action plan was published Friday, including specific strategies for how the city will work against climate change.

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EIR on San Diego's Climate Action Plan

EIR on San Diego's Climate Action Plan

The environmental impact report on San Diego's climate action plan.

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Mayor Kevin Faulconer released his climate action plan last year, which listed several goals including converting all of the city's energy to renewable sources in the next 20 years. It also says by that time, half of urban area residents will walk, bike or take public transit to work.

This report provides a more detailed roadmap outlining specifically what strategies the city will use and when to achieve those goals. It says the climate action plan could cut San Diego's greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2035.

The report is the next step in the process to implement the climate action plan. Members of the public have 60 days to review the environmental impact report and the climate plan before it goes to the City Council's environment committee this fall.

Nicole Capretz wrote an early version of the plan, and has since started the advocacy group Climate Action Campaign to watchdog its approval process. She said the plan remains true to its original goals.

"We’re pretty pleased," Capretz said. "I think the mayor and his team deserve a lot of credit because we are basically on the cusp of passing one of, if not the most ambitious climate action plans in the nation."

The plan legally commits San Diego to having 100 percent of its energy come from renewable sources such as wind and solar by 2035. It does not specify that goal will be achieved using community choice aggregation, a program that would allow San Diego to control where its energy comes from. Under the current system, San Diego Gas & Electric buys the energy.

But the plan includes community choice aggregation as one of the options for the City Council to consider.

Capretz's version of the plan, which she wrote for Councilman Todd Gloria, committed to using community choice aggregation. In Faulconer’s version of the plan, it says "community choice aggregation or another program."

The plan outlines how the city will use a pedestrian master plan and bike master plan to achieve the goal of 50 percent of urban area residents commuting to work in other ways besides driving. It also says the city will consolidate growth in villages so people live closer to where they work.

Capretz said one area the plan is lacking is a better plan for how to consolidate growth in dense areas, which reduces the amount people drive.

“I haven’t seen the commitment or the leadership it’s going to take to build smart growth communities as our general plan calls for," Capretz said. "I haven’t seen the commitment to working with our regional transportation agency to make sure we’re investing in bike and pedestrian infrastructure or public transit infrastructure so it’s actually a viable option."

She said the city also needs more planning on how it will adapt to a hotter and drier climate.

Public comments on the plan can be mailed to Rebecca Malone, associate planner, City of San Diego Planning Department, 1222 First Avenue, MS 501, San Diego, CA 92101 or emailed to DSDEAS@sandiego.gov referencing the Project Name and Number in the subject line.

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