An updated report presented to the San Diego County Board of supervisors demonstrated that the county would not achieve its goals to curb global warming through its local plans, even with state measures. 

During a Feb. 9 board meeting, an update of the county's “Regional Decarbonization Framework” plan, which coordinates local efforts to make the switch from fossil fuel to renewable energy, was presented. The update said that the county would meet less than half of its emissions reduction goals to prevent further global warming. 

The board directed the Cheif Administrative Officer on Jan. 27, 2021, to develop the Regional Decarbonization Framework plan to achieve zero carbon emission in the region in partnership with the University of California San Diego (UC San Diego) School of Global Policy and Strategy, and Law’s Energy Policy Initiatives Center (EPIC). 

A first draft of the plan will be taken into consideration next month and the board of supervisors has scheduled to approve a final plan in August. Under the plan, the county aims to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions with the goal of reaching zero emissions by 2035.

According to Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Sarah E. Aghassi, the global climate is changing, and “nowhere are the effects felt more acutely than at the local level”. This includes a higher frequency and intensity of extreme heat events, droughts, wildfires, storms, and sea-level rise. 

“The growing economic, social, and environmental impacts associated with a changing climate are causing immediate and long-term damages to our ecosystems, food production, health, safety, jobs, businesses, and communities across the San Diego region, particularly underserved populations who are impacted disproportionately,” Aghassi wrote in a board letter.

The board reviewed the climate policies in various cities through the region after having received technical support in November which named options for carbon reduction in energy systems, transportation, and buildings. Another study on developing the workforce and training needed for the renewable energy sector is underway.

In the meantime, the region will consider “no-regret actions” that will be useful regardless of the strategies taken under the plan. Some of those actions include building more capacity for solar power, particularly with rooftop solar installations.

Additionally, municipal climate action plans will be tied together to achieve deeper carbon reductions as a region under the plan. 

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