Mayor Todd Gloria signed into law an update to the city’s Climate Action Plan Wednesday, which includes setting a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035.
The San Diego City Council approved the update last week 8-0, with Councilman Chris Cate absent. City staff will bring a full implementation plan back to the council by February 2023.
“From wildfires to heat waves, to floods, we see the impacts of climate change all around us,” Gloria said. “Every level of government must take action on addressing climate change — and with this Climate Action Plan, the city is stepping up to do so.”
“This update to the city’s Climate Action Plan means cleaner air and water, local investment and jobs, infrastructure improvements, more safe and convenient mobility options, increased access to green space, and most of all, a better future for our children and grandchildren,” he added.
The plan calls for phasing out 90% of fossil fuel use in buildings by 2035 through electrification, appliance swaps, working with San Diego Community Power to offer 100% renewable electricity for all customers in San Diego by 2030 and planning for and investing in a mobility network that shifts 50% of all trips to walking, biking or transit and reduces the overall need for vehicle use by 2035.
“There is no time to wait to take climate action. Thankfully, by including the voices and concerns of the people who have suffered the most under climate inequity, our Climate Action Plan will ensure our city does our part for the global community while working toward our goal of providing every San Diegan the clean and healthy community they deserve,” City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera said when the update was approved last week.
“Now more than ever, the city is positioned to bring forth a sustainable future for all by strengthening its commitment to greater tree canopy, safer streets, cleaner air and healthier neighborhoods,” Elo-Rivera added.
San Diego has more than 400 municipal facilities burning natural gas to heat water and indoor spaces, and more than 4,000 fleet vehicles on the road each day. The plan outlines emission-reduction opportunities and describes specific projects, programs and policies to enable the city to meet its goals.
A complete implementation plan will be drafted before next year’s budget proposal, and each department responsible for CAP actions will be required to provide annual work plans to show how they will carry out the plan’s identified strategies.
“The 2022 Climate Action Plan remains a model for the country; achieving the CAP’s ambitious goals will produce a sustainable future for San Diegans,” said Councilman Joe LaCava, who chairs the council’s Environment Committee. “The Climate Action Plan update is only the beginning. I applaud the mayor’s leadership in already pivoting the city toward climate action and a commitment to document a full implementation plan by February 2023.”
Additional plans outlined in the update include reducing and diverting at least 90% of waste away from the landfill by 2035, restoring 700 acres of wetlands and related habitats as carbon sink, and achieving 35% tree canopy coverage by “planting and maintaining tens of thousands of trees, focused first in underserved communities that are vulnerable to extreme heat.”
City News Service contributed to this article.