It's unanimous: San Diego to be largest U.S. city 100% powered by clean energy
December 18, 2015 | By Barbara Vergetis Lundin
The San Diego City Council has voted unanimously 8-0 to approve a progressive Climate Action Plan, which creates legally binding mandates for reducing levels of greenhouse gases.
In the 8-0 vote, the city council approved a plan that focuses on renewable energy, transportation, boosting the urban tree canopy, and sustainably disposing solid waste to reach the city's goals. The Climate Action Plan not only received bipartisan support within the council, but has equally broad support in the community.
The city's goal is to have 100 percent clean energy by 2035, which would make San Diego the largest city fully powered by renewable energy. The San Diego rooftop solar industry, which is second in the nation per capita, is currently providing a $1 billion economic benefit to San Diego County -- an amount that is slated to increase once the Climate Action Plan goes into effect.
"I hope you realize that this will be the most important issue that you work on" Nicole Capretz, who was instrumental in the Climate Action Plan and is executive director of the Climate Action Campaign, said. "We are making a down payment on our future. This is beyond party politics. What's important is that we're protecting our quality of life for future generations."
The Climate Action Plan will not only have a significant impact on the environment, but on quality of life.
"We have the opportunity to make San Diego one of the green energy and solar capitals of the world," said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer at a press conference. "We are a leader in sustainability and innovation. Let's use our creative spirit to preserve our children's future. Let's pass on a San Diego that is cleaner and with more opportunities than when we received it."
Upcoming goals for the Climate Action Plan include cutting car trips in key transportation areas by 20 percent by 2020 and 50 percent by 2035; expanding the urban tree canopy by 15 percent by 2020 and 35 percent by 2035; recycling or composing 75 percent of all solid waste by 2020 and 35 percent by 2035.
Sacramento is currently the only other city in the state with enforceable mandates like these.
Much work lies ahead for San Diego, but the Climate Action Plan is a major first step toward a sustainable San Diego.
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