County Moves Toward Regional Decarbonization Plan

News Date

Article by: Deborah Sullivan Brennan

San Diego — Climate action plans of the county’s 18 cities will achieve just a fraction of the greenhouse gas reductions needed to help curb global warming, according to a recent report to the county Board of Supervisors.

Even combined with state measures, the local plans would result in less than half the emissions reductions required to prevent further warming,

The report, presented at the board meeting Feb. 9, offered an update on the county’s regional “Decarbonization Framework,” which would coordinate local efforts to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The board will consider the first draft next month, and approve a final plan in August.

The framework will lay out steps to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions before mid-century, with the goal of reaching zero emissions by 2035. It aims to stitch together the patchwork of municipal climate action plans to achieve deeper carbon reductions as a region.

In November the board received a technical report that spelled out options for reducing carbon emissions from energy systems, transportation and buildings. This month it reviewed the climate policies of various cities throughout the region. It’s expecting another study on developing the workforce needed for the renewable energy sector and training workers for those jobs.

“Our board is really committed to ensuring that any move toward a green economy is also protective of working families,” Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer said.

As the region switches to renewable energy, it will have to weigh the costs and benefits of various strategies, but there are some measures identified as “no-regret actions,” which are likely to be useful in any scenario. Among those is building more capacity for solar power, particularly with rooftop solar installations.

“In the next couple years we will hopefully see a lot more accessibility for renters, homeowners and businesses to move toward rooftop solar,” Lawson-Remer said.

She said she expects small solar arrays will become more practical and affordable as public agencies install them at government offices, schools and libraries, and as the region develops localized storage and distribution systems for solar power.

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