San Diego is renowned for its great beaches, stellar food, and conscious populace, but it will soon be recognized for something even greater… According to Climate Action Programme, the Californian city is moving forward with an ambitious plan to run on 100% renewable energy by 2035. Throughout this process, San Diego residents hope to decrease their collective greenhouse gas emissions by 50%.
The Climate Action Plan was endorsed by Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer and was unanimously approved by the Democrat-dominated city council in December of 2015. The city primarily intends to utilize solar and wind power to achieve its target.
Considering San Diego already has more solar panels than most American cities and presently runs on 40% renewable energy, accomplishing this feat by 2035 shouldn’t be too much of a stretch. In 2015, the city had increased its solar installations by 76.6%. And, the city ranks second in the nation (for the third year in a row), according to Environment California.
The plan calls for half of the city’s vehicles to be electric and close to 100% of methane from sewage and water treatment to be recycled. To reduce private automobile use, the city intends to make major investments in public transportation and bicycling infrastructure. Another of the plan’s targets includes recycling or composting 90% of all solid waste.
In the Climate Action Plan’s introduction, Faulconer wrote:
“Today, we are faced with an issue that affects us all. Our city’s responsibility is to ensure a clean, sustainable San Diego for generations to come. San Diegans from different backgrounds are coming together to proactively address environmental concerns, strengthen our economy and improve our quality of life.”
When Mr. Faulconer spoke to The Guardian, he made it clear that many cities – including New York and San Francisco – are getting tired of waiting for government mandates to invest in clean energy. He said,
“Cities are leading the federal government… They are leading on innovation and policy. The technology is advancing incredibly quickly. We need to have our eyes wide open on this.”
If San Diego succeeds with its vision, it will join the growing list of cities around the world that have committed to powering their economies completely with renewable energy. They include Vancouver, Las Vegas, Sydney, San Francisco, and Copenhagen.