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County releases Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gases

Shauni Lyles

San Diego County Communications Office

San Diego County’s Draft Climate Action Plan, a blueprint for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the unincorporated area and at county facilities, is now available for public review and comment.

Actions outlined in the Draft CAP will ultimately help us reach net zero emissions by 2045. Net zero means removing the same amount of emissions that are produced.

The CAP is designed to improve overall sustainability while meeting the state’s GHG requirements through actions in the following sectors: built environment and transportation, energy, solid waste, water and wastewater and agriculture and conservation.

What does reducing GHG emissions achieve?

Implementing the CAP actions that reduce GHG emissions will help preserve the environment, improve public health, increase access to green careers and improve quality of life.

The CAP can also help us reduce wildfire risk, increase energy reliability and reduce utility bills for the unincorporated area.

The county has worked with attorneys, litigants and interested community members to make this CAP stronger by adding more choices for the public.

In January 2021, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors called for a new CAP that uses updated data and modeling, prioritizes environmental justice and equity, includes a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions goal and other key priorities. The board rescinded the 2018 CAP, but the county continued many of its 26 measures, which were not challenged by the court and have been achieving good results.

Since 2021, the county has worked closely with the community and special interest groups to shape the next CAP.

Some of the county’s climate action measures include open space and agricultural easements acquisition; tree planting initiatives and rain barrel programs; county fleet fuel use and emissions reductions and solar photovoltaic energy, which is a renewable source of energy, use at county facilities and in the community.

As of 2022, the county’s climate action efforts have acquired 8,766 acres of open space; established conservation easements on 2,135 acres of farmland; planted more than 30,000 trees; created 369 miles of bike lanes; added 56 public electric vehicle charging stations; distributed 10,493 rain barrels and continued to support the use of clean energy by waiving solar permit fees.

You can find updates on all county greenhouse gas reduction measures at https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/sustainability/dashboard/.

How can you participate in the process of developing the CAP?

Community input has been vital to the county’s efforts to develop the CAP to date. Since the beginning of 2023, staff released a survey for unincorporated area residents, provided classroom workshops on clean air and water, and began a series of presentations to Community Planning and Sponsor Groups.

The public comment period will run through Jan. 5, 2024. Residents can review and provide feedback at https://engage.sandiegocounty.gov/hub-page/climate-action-plan.

The draft CAP will be considered by the county’s board of supervisors for adoption in fall 2024.

 

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