San Diego climate action plan calls for major reduction in greenhouse gases

SAN DIEGO, California – America's Finest City aims to live up to its monitor by tackling a key environmental issue plaguing the world.

City officials today released an updated Climate Action Plan for the City of San Diego in front of the solar panels atop the city’s Alvarado Water Treatment Plant.

The Climate Action Plan calls for eliminating half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the City and aims for all electricity used in the City to be from renewable sources by 2035.

“By striking a balance between protecting our environment and growing our economy, San Diego can support clean technology, renewable energy and economic growth,” Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer said. “I’ve brought together environmental and business groups to update this plan and move San Diego forward. Let’s preserve our children’s future and hand down a San Diego that is cleaner than it was when we received it.”

Mayor Faulconer, City Council President Todd Gloria and Council President Pro Tem Sherri S. Lightner released the update today.

The Climate Action Plan is a package of common-sense policies that will benefit San Diego’s environment and economy. It will create new jobs in the renewable energy industry, improve public health and air quality, enhance water quality, efficiently use existing resources, increase local energy production, improve quality of life and save taxpayer money.

The plan also clearly identifies steps the Mayor and City Council can take to achieve the 2035 targets. That list includes crafting an ordinance that requires developers to install conduit for solar and electric vehicle charging stations in new construction; creating a renewable energy program; developing a zero waste plan; and changing policy to have a majority of the City’s fleet be electric vehicles.

The Climate Action Plan helps achieve the greenhouse gas reduction targets set forth in the 2005 executive order issued by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The City’s first Climate Action Plan was approved in 2005 and a commitment to update the plan was included in the City’s 2008 General Plan update. This new plan is in draft form until it is reviewed by the public and approved by the City Council.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT THE CLIMATE ACTION PLAN

Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer: “San Diego is a city that innovates. We are a city that leads. We are a city where our environment is central to our quality of life. That’s why I’m proud today to release a plan that will help our communities thrive and create the green jobs of tomorrow.”
City Council President Todd Gloria: “This plan demonstrates that San Diego is a progressive leader in addressing climate change, and that we value our people and our environment enough to take such decisive and strong action.”

City Council President Pro Tem Sherri S. Lightner: “As a Councilmember representing our coastal communities, I have long advocated for the City of San Diego to adopt a Climate Action Plan to help protect our environment for decades to come. I appreciate all the work that Mayor Faulconer, Council President Gloria, the task force and stakeholders have put into this draft. I’m looking forward to adopting a final plan that takes advantage of new and innovative technologies, conserves valuable resources, achieves energy and water efficiencies, and provides incentives to homeowners and business owners to upgrade their properties.”

Stephen Heverly, managing director of the Equinox Center: “Equinox Center is encouraged by Mayor Faulconer's proposed climate plan because it includes goals for creating a resilient city with a healthy environment and strong economy, while meeting greenhouse gas reduction targets.”

Jason Anderson, president of Cleantech San Diego: “Cleantech San Diego applauds the efforts of the Mayor and the City Council on the release of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan. Not only will the identified goals and actions preserve our environment and quality of life, but they also will help boost our economy. Whether it’s reducing a building’s energy consumption or integrating renewable energy resources, the solutions exist today and the companies that can provide these solutions are right here in San Diego.”

Matthew Adams, Vice President of the Building Industry Association of San Diego County: “We appreciate the Mayor’s effort to craft a realistic and comprehensive Climate Action Plan to achieve state mandated greenhouse gas reductions. As the representatives of those who construct the most energy efficient buildings in the nation – if not the world – the BIA looks forward to a productive dialogue as the process moves forward.”

Chanelle Hawken, executive director of public policy for the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce: “We applaud Mayor Faulconer's collaborative approach and focus on green jobs and technology. We look forward to the public discussion, and working to make San Diego the most business-friendly region in the state.”

Leslie Kilpatrick, president of the Greater San Diego Association of REALTORS: “Mayor Faulconer brought everyone to the table. He listened and he put together a plan all of us can get behind. We're happy to see a process that's inclusive, that puts San Diegans first, and includes groups like ours that are key to growing our economy.”

CLIMATE ACTION PLAN FACT SHEET

This update to the City of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan provides a roadmap to significantly reduce greenhouse gases by 2035 through specific actions by the Mayor and City Council. By striking a balance between protecting our environment and growing our economy, San Diego can be a leader in clean technology, renewable energy and green jobs.

BACKGROUND

A 2005 Executive Order by Gov. Schwarzenegger ordered greenhouse gas reduction targets for California. The City’s first Climate Action Plan was approved by the City Council in July 2005, and a commitment to update and implement this plan was included in the City of San Diego’s 2008 General Plan update. This plan is in draft form until it is reviewed by the public and approved by the City Council.

GOALS

• ELIMINATE HALF OF ALL GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS BY 2035
o Based on 2010 greenhouse gas levels
o Puts the City of San Diego on track to meet state goals for 2050

• 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY TARGET BY 2035
o Aims for all electricity used in the City to be from renewable sources – such as wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric and biomass energy – that don’t emit greenhouse gases

BENEFITS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND ECONOMY

The Climate Action Plan is a package of commonsense policies that will benefit San Diego’s environment and economy. Implementing the Climate Action Plan will:

• Create new jobs in the renewable energy industry with emphasis on solar panels and electric vehicles
• Improve public health and air quality by reducing carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and other particulate matter
• Enhance water quality by reducing waste and decrease dependence on imported water by promoting water conservation
• Efficiently use existing resources, such as converting methane from wastewater facilities into electricity
• Inform home buyers how much electricity and water a building uses before purchasing – without added delay or cost to the home-buying process
• Increase local energy production with rooftop solar, renewable energy and electric vehicles
• Improve quality of life by encouraging biking and walking, planting trees and reducing landfill waste
• Save taxpayer money by decreasing municipal water, energy and waste usage

BOLD STRATEGIES TO REDUCE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS

The Climate Action Plan calls for:

• ENERGY & WATER EFFICIENT BUILDINGS
o Increase energy efficiency and reduce water usage
o Create a mix of regulatory mandates and incentives to improve building performance
• CLEAN & RENEWABLE ENERGY
o Facilitate installation of renewable energy locally
o Create jobs in renewable energy sector
• BICYCLING, WALKING, TRANSIT & LAND USE
o Reduce vehicle miles traveled, improve mobility and reduce gas consumption
o Implement smart growth and promote alternative modes of travel
• ZERO WASTE
o Achieve a 75% waste diversion rate to landfills by 2020
o Reach 90% diversion rate by 2035
• CLIMATE RESILIENCY
o Develop programs, policies and processes that are flexible to allow future change

NEXT STEPS

This draft plan is open for public input. City staff can then revise the plan based on public feedback, perform an environmental review and bring it to the City Council for consideration in spring 2015. The following is a list of actions that the Mayor and City Council can take to reach the goals of the Climate Action Plan.

• Craft ordinances to require:
o Disclosure of a building’s energy and water use to potential home-buyers
o Installation of weather-based sprinkler controls (sensors that shut off system after rain)
o Developers install conduit for solar and electric vehicle charging stations in new construction
• Create a renewable energy program to reach the goal of achieving 100% renewable energy by 2035
• Support water rate structures that encourage conservation
• Implement the following changes to City policy:
o Establish goal of 50% of City’s fleet being electric vehicles by 2020 and 90% by 2035
o Convert City trash trucks to natural gas with goal of 100% conversion by 2035
o Capture methane from wastewater treatment with goal of capturing 98% by 2035
• Create and implement the following plans:
o A traffic signal master plan to retime traffic lights and better coordinate the traffic system
o A roundabouts master plan with goal of creating 20 roundabouts by 2035
o A site plan for electric vehicle charging stations
o A zero waste plan
o An urban tree planting program
• Encourage biking, walking and public transportation near transit stations
• Monitor progress of Climate Action Plan implementation, greenhouse gas emissions and the creation of green jobs