The nonprofit Climate Action Campaign awarded no San Diego County cities its “Gold Standard” in its annual Climate Report Card, giving just a handful its second-tier silver designation in the climate change-focused report released Tuesday.
San Diego, Encinitas and La Mesa earned the silver awards, and Solana Beach, Del Mar, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach and Carlsbad earned bronze for their implementation of climate solutions.
The report calls out El Cajon, Poway, Santee and San Diego County, “all of whom refuse to adopt climate strategies that match the scope and scale of our crisis,” the campaign said.
The climate action plan of the county was “fatally flawed,” the group said, because it fails to address on-road transportation emissions. “It also supports continued sprawl development by allowing unlimited out-of-county carbon offsets.”
Also “fatally flawed” were plans by El Cajon (“includes several unenforceable measures, does not
provide substantial evidence of how emissions reduction targets will be met, and therefore does not comply with state law”) and Santee (“designed to permit sprawl projects [that] undermine state, regional and city emissions reductions targets by dramatically increasing transportation emissions, rendering Santee’s CAP null and void.”).
“While we are winning some battles, we are losing the war against the climate crisis,” said the report card’s lead author Maleeka Marsden. “The path to a zero-carbon future will not be easy, but we will emerge on the other side with cleaner air, cleaner water, better health and livable neighborhoods.”
The report scored 18 cities and San Diego County on climate plans. It found that while some cities made strides toward achieving 100% clean energy, any gains are overshadowed by the largest source of emissions in the region — transportation. Cities have struggled with progress on zero-waste initiatives and shade trees.
“To meet state climate goals and local Climate Action Plans, cities must slash their carbon footprints in half by 2030,” Climate Action Campaign said in a press release. “Unfortunately, we are not on track to hit our 2030 targets, let alone zero-out emissions. The biggest culprit: emissions from cars and trucks due to urban sprawl and lack of investment in biking, walking and transit.”
The campaign recommends several key steps: Cities update climate action plans to commit to zero carbon emissions by 2045; make zero-carbon a state law; create a regional climate authority; build better transit; and reject sprawl, instead developing near existing jobs and transit.
Climate Action Campaign was founded in January 2015 to encourage civic leaders to move quickly and decisively to limit the impacts of climate change. San Diego signed its Climate Action Plan in December 2015, agreeing to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030.
Read the San Diego Region Climate Action Plan Report Card at climateactioncampaign.org.
— City News Service