Mayor Kevin Faulconer releases the latest climate report at a press conference on Shelter Island. Photo by Chris Jennewein
Mayor Kevin Faulconer releases the latest climate report at a press conference on Shelter Island. Photo by Chris Jennewein

Mayor Kevin Faulconer gathered with business and political leaders Thursday to report that San Diego is making faster progress than expected on its ambitious climate action plan.

He released data showing greenhouse gas emissions had been cut by 17 percent between 2010 and 2016, well ahead of the target of 15 percent by 2020. And he committed to annual reports to to ensure further progress is being made toward a goal of 50 percent by 2035.

“We’ve made significant progress to create a cleaner San Diego and we’re just getting started,” he said at a press conference on Shelter Island. “Measuring our progress each year will tell us what’s working and where we need to adjust.”

Cody Hooven, the city’s chief sustainability officer, said progress has been made publicly and privately though reduced residential water consumption, growing rooftop solar installations, diverting solid waste from the Miramar landfill, capturing methane gas at the city’s wastewater treatment, and investment in renewable energy supplies by San Diego Gas & Electric.

Len Herring, executive director for the Center for Sustainable Energy, cited cooperation between the business and political communities for San Diego’s success.

“San Diego is clearly leading by example,” he said, noting it is the first city to commit to such an ambitious climate plan.

Asked whether the new Donald Trump administration in Washington might temper San Diego’s focus on climate change, Faulconer said he was “committed to this 100 percent” because “our environment is central to our quality of life.”

He pointed out that San Diego ranks third nationally as a center for developing clean technology products and services.

“We’re in a unique leadership position here in San Diego,” he said. “We are showing that it’s good not just for the environment, but for business.”

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.