Solar panels at city facility
Solar panels at a City of San Diego facility. Courtesy of the city

San Diego has cut greenhouse gas emissions by residents, businesses and government by 24 percent over the past decade — far surpassing the official 2020 goal of 15 percent.

That number was the key finding in the annual report released Monday on the City of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan.

The report counted total emissions of 9,849,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2018, compared to 12,985,000 metric tons in the base year of 2010. Lower amounts were produced in all major activities, including road transportation, electricity production, natural gas, water and sanitation.

“Climate action isn’t just a phrase in San Diego — it’s a way of life. The investments we’re making now to protect the environment will pay huge dividends going forward,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer in releasing the report.

“We’re making solid progress on leaving behind a cleaner San Diego, but we know there is much more work to do and it’s going to take all of us being part of the solution to get where we need to go,” he said.

The city’s Climate Action Plan calls for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2035 compared to 2010, and to use 100% clean energy. This year is the fourth consecutive year of reductions, and to date all 17 actions called for in the Climate Action Plan are in progress or complete.

Other major findings in the annual report:

  • 15 percent reduction in residential energy use
  • 14 gallon reduction in daily per capita water use
  • 2.5 percent reduction in municipal energy use
  • 43 percent use of renewable electricity citywide
  • 64 electric vehicle charging stations
  • 100 hybrids in municipal fleet

“San Diego is demonstrating to the world that we can be a resilient, thriving community in an uncertain climate while improving the quality of life for residents,” said Cody Hooven, the city’s chief sustainability officer. “We are using solar, installing bike lanes and planting trees all in an effort to reach our climate goals.”

The report found that sustainability efforts have helped spur the local economy and create jobs. San Diego’s clean tech job concentration is  double the national average.

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