Mitigation

San Diego: Bipartisan Plan Accelerates Climate Change Action

In December 2015, San Diego adopted a new Climate Action Plan with bipartisan support, demonstrating that climate action can appeal to everyone. With this plan, San Diego aims to cut its carbon footprint in half by 2035 via five strategies: energy- and water-efficient buildings; clean and renewable energy; bicycling, walking, transit and land use; zero waste; and climate resilience.

24% reduction in CO2 by 2020 through the Climate Action Plan

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So far, 4,000 solar panel installation permits have been issued and more than 260 km of bicycle lanes have been completed, with 80 new or improved bike lane km planned every year. The plan aims to have 20,000 additional residential units built within walking distance to existing transit stations, and has set a target of 35% urban tree canopy cover. In terms of water, the plan’s recycling purification program includes the construction of purification facilities, pipelines, and pump stations to provide a local source of water to the city. Eventually this will replace purchases of imported water, which currently account for at least 85% of the demand.

The challenge

San Diego faces serious vulnerabilities from climate change, including increased temperatures resulting in hotter, drier days and heat waves, increasing the risk of bushfires and more pressure on freshwater resources. In recognition of the severity of these issues, San Diego’s Republican mayor adopted the Climate Action Plan, with a focus on reducing fossil fuel use and securing a stable water supply for the city.

Co-benefits

Environmental The plan aims to achieve 100% renewable electricity city-wide by 2035.

Health The plan aims to have 50% of residents commute by foot, bike, or transit by 2035, creating new opportunities for exercise, which can lower obesity rates and improve cardiovascular health.

Social It is expected that the city’s Climate Action Plan will create 25,000 jobs, with efforts particularly focusing on disadvantaged communities by training youth and veterans in solar energy careers.

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