Taking action against climate change, the Del Mar City Council on June 6 adopted a plan that aims to cut the city’s greenhouse gas emissions in half in less than 20 years.
Del Mar’s Climate Action Plan outlines how the city can combat climate change. It will serve as a comprehensive roadmap, outlining strategies the city could use to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent by 2020 and 50 percent by 2035.
“This is time-sensitive,” Mayor Sherryl Parks said about climate change. “It’s something that is right here and it needs to be addressed.”
The completion of a Climate Action Plan was one of the council’s priorities for fiscal year 2015-16.
Adopted in 2006, California Assembly Bill 32 compels the state to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Subsequent California legislation established additional requirements for setting more long-term greenhouse gas reduction targets.
Since then, several cities in San Diego County have adopted Climate Action Plans to identify projected future emissions. The plans also set specific greenhouse gas reduction targets and strategies to achieve those targets.
The cities of Carlsbad, Chula Vista, Encinitas, Escondido, San Marcos and Vista have adopted such plans. The city of San Diego also adopted a plan last year. Other cities, such as neighboring Solana Beach, are currently developing plans.
With a grant from the San Diego Association of Governments, Del Mar completed its Greenhouse Gas Inventory in 2011 based on data from 2005. An Energy Roadmap for city operations was created in 2013.
Since early 2014, city staff has worked with the city’s Sustainability Advisory Board to update Del Mar’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory based on data from 2012 and 2013, determine greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2020 and 2035, identify mitigation measures and strategies, draft the plan and prepare an implementation plan.
The plan also incorporated public input from the city’s Sustainable Lifestyle Resource Fair and Climate Action Plan Workshop in September. About 50 people attended the workshop, which featured 12 exhibitors.
The project was made possible with support from SANDAG, San Diego Gas & Electric, Energy Policy Initiatives Center and consulting firm Atkins.
In preparation for a presentation to the council in December, Del Mar posted its draft Climate Action Plan on the city website in January. The final version of the plan was posted on June 2.
“Our CAP does not set forth any laws or mandates or policies or programs. It sets recommendations,” explained Kristen Crane, assistant to the city manager. “Through our implementation plan, we will come back and work on all of those different things as individual projects.”
The plan looks at cutting greenhouse gas emissions through strategies related to energy and buildings, water and waste, transportation and tree planting. There are 22 recommended goals on the list, along with 24 measures and 74 strategies identified as part of the implementation plan, according to the staff report. Each item will be evaluated by staff, the appropriate city advisory committee as applicable, and brought before the council for consideration.
One of the city’s most significant strategies identified in the Climate Action Plan is the goal of working toward 50 percent renewable energy supply by 2020 and 100 percent renewable energy supply by 2035.
Priorities for the first phase include pursuing increased use of renewable energy sources, including the exploration of community choice aggregation; facilitating the planning and building application process for the installation of photovoltaic panels and energy efficiency retrofits; developing a zero-waste program or policy, implementing a “complete streets” policy for arterial streets, exploring the installation of roundabouts, and possibly implementing an urban tree planting program.
The city received 13 letters in support of the Climate Action Plan. Several speakers also asked the council to adopt the plan.
“I’m here tonight to ask you for bold leadership,” said Del Mar resident Bruce Bekkar, who serves on the city’s Sea-Level Rise Stakeholder Technical Advisory Committee. “I’m asking you to send a very loud message to the rest of the region. Other cities are watching this right now and will be hearing about it. In fact, you can send a loud message to the entire state tonight. It’s way past time to take a stand on climate change. We need to catch up quickly and stabilize the climate.”
In a 4-0 vote, the council adopted the plan. Councilman Dwight Worden was absent from the meeting.
“I’m very proud of this community for putting together such a fine document,” Deputy Mayor Terry Sinnott said. “This gets us down to a clear understanding of what are the options and what a small city like Del Mar can do to achieve its goals.”
“This is a wonderful work product,” Councilman Don Mosier agreed. “We’re all starting late in the game and we need to play catch up. This document provides a way to catch up.”
The city will periodically assess its progress by recalculating its Greenhouse Gas Inventory. City staff will also keep track of measures implemented, as well as review and update the Climate Action Plan.
For more about the city’s Climate Action Plan, visit www.delmar.ca.us/cap.