SDUT: Imperial Beach enacts climate action plan

August 5 – The San Diego Union Tribune – David Hernandez reports – Imperial Beach plans to use 100 percent clean energy and plant almost 900 trees by 2030 as part of measures intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Under what is known as a climate action plan, the city also plans to install more bike lanes, improve pedestrian “networks,” purchase electric bicycles for city employees and encourage solar on commercial projects, among other strategies.

The City Council approved the climate action plan on July 17, along with a so-called mobility element, which provides a framework to improve all modes of transportation. The mobility element includes a “complete streets” policy, which promotes the planning and design of streets to serve all “users,” including bicyclists, motorists and bicyclists.

With the climate action plan approved, Imperial Beach joins six other cities in San Diego County in committing to a 100 percent clean energy future, according to Maleeka Marsden, a climate justice advocate and organizer with the Climate Action Campaign.

To reach its goal of using 100 percent clean energy, Imperial Beach will consider a program known as Community Choice Energy, which allows cities and counties to purchase power on behalf of their residents and businesses to provide cleaner power options at a competitive price.

A greenhouse gas inventory showed the beach community emitted 96,400 metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2012. The largest sources were vehicles, which generated 57 percent of greenhouse gases, and energy use, which contributed 23 percent.

The adoption of a climate action plan and a mobility element ensures Imperial Beach’s eligibility for grants from the San Diego Association of Governments, the region’s planning agency, which last year amended grant stipulations to call for the adoption of a climate action plan and a policy that encourages “complete streets.”

Imperial Beach plans to work to establish the climate action plan as a California Environmental Quality Act mitigation document by 2025.

City staff will provide annual updates to the City Council on the implementation of measures and actions that fall in line with the climate action plan. The city committed to a comprehensive update to the climate action plan by 2030. The update is set to include standards to prioritize disadvantaged communities in implementation of the climate action plan.

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