Supervisors Approve Climate Action Plan

County supervisors unanimously approved a Climate Action Plan Wednesday designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions and conserve energy in order to meet state requirements.

The plan, a piece of the General Plan Update supervisors approved in August, included voluntary actions aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions in unincorporated areas by 15 percent over 2005 levels.

Some of those actions included encouraging builders to create more “mixed-use” developments where people could drive less by being able to work and shop close to home; building energy-efficient new developments; retrofitting older buildings with energy-efficient features; using alternative energy sources like electricity-generating solar panels and solar water-heating panels; increasing walking and car-pooling; and planting more trees.

The plan was also created to comply with Assembly Bill 32, the “California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006,” which requires greenhouse gas emissions statewide to be reduced to 1990 levels by 2020. California’s Air Resources Board, the agency responsible for overseeing the law, has recommended that cities and counties set their target at 15 percent below 2005 levels to help meet the state’s goal.

Transportation — largely car and vehicle traffic — was identified in the plan as largest generator of greenhouse gas emissions that have been linked to climate change in San Diego County’s unincorporated areas, accounting for 59 percent of all emissions. Energy used to power businesses and homes accounted for 11 percent and 14 percent, respectively.

County planners wrote that taking actions to address greenhouse gases and conserve energy could provide immediate benefits, including improving public health and the local water supply.

Supervisor Greg Cox said approving the plan and complying with AB 32 was the right thing to do.

“It’s not a question of whether we believe in global warming or climate action plans,” Cox said. “It’s the right thing to do whether you think there are concerns over sea levels rising or anything else. I mean, whatever we can do to conserve energy, we should do — whatever we can do to cut down on greenhouse emissions, it’s the right thing to do.”

Gig Conaughton is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact