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San Diego Mayor Releases Climate Action Plan

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
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

After the San Diego City Council last week urged the mayor to get moving on a climate action plan, Mayor Kevin Faulconer unveiled his strategy with council leadership by his side.

City of San Diego Climate Action Plan
City of San Diego Climate Action Plan
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Faulconer released the plan Tuesday afternoon at a water treatment plant in La Mesa. He was joined by Council President Todd Gloria and Council President Pro Tem Sherri Lightner who both praised the plan.

Faulconer said his plan puts San Diego on track to meet state goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and sets a 100 percent renewable energy target by 2035 — something council members called for in last week's resolution — all while generating jobs in the region.

"This plan provides a framework to create new jobs in the renewable energy industry with the installation of solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations," Faulconer said amid solar panels atop a water treatment facility. "Together we will improve public health and air quality by reducing carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and other particulate matter, and we will decrease San Diego's dependence on imported water."

Gloria said he was pleased with the mayor's proposal.

"From energy and water conservation to local clean energy generation, waste reduction, improved transportation, and climate resiliency — the plan that we are announcing today comprehensively addresses the major environmental challenges of our day," he said.

One thing the mayor’s plan doesn’t include is a controversial mandate for homeowners to make energy efficient upgrades before selling their homes. The rule was mentioned in a previous version drafted by Gloria but Faulconer’s plan requires homeowners disclose their energy and water usage to potential buyers.

Last week, the City Council passed a resolution that supports the city's efforts to develop and adopt a climate action plan, or CAP. It was authored by Councilman David Alvarez, who Faulconer defeated in a special election for mayor this year.

"As the Mayor continues to progress on the draft CAP developed by Council President Todd Gloria, it is vital that members of the Committee on the Environment and full City Council make clear their expectations for the CAP's goals and outcomes," Alvarez wrote in a July 23 memo.

The council passed the resolution 5-3 on a party line vote. Councilwoman Marti Emerald was absent, while the three Republican council members —Mark Kersey, Lorie Zapf and Scott Sherman — voted against it because of the timing of the resolution.

At Tuesday's press conference, Faulconer said he worked closely with parties on all sides, including environmentalists, small-business owners and City Council members to draft the plan, and he looks forward to the public's response.