KPBS: San Diego Wants Public Input On Update To 2015 Climate Action Plan

August 13 – KPBS – Andrew Bowen reports – San Diego officials began a public outreach campaign Thursday to collect input on an update to the city’s landmark climate action plan.

The current plan, adopted in 2015, requires the city to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2035 through a mix of strategies including reducing car travel, increasing renewable energy and planting more trees.

San Diego Sustainability Director Cody Hooven told more than 100 attendees of a virtual forum Thursday that the policies included in the climate plan are not set in stone and were always meant to be updated as time went on.

“A lot has changed in the last five years,” Hooven said. “There’s been regulatory and legislative changes that have happened that we need to take into account. There’s new technologies and just new ways of doing things that we can incorporate and account for in the next iteration of this future plan.”

For years, activists have been urging the city to set a new goal of carbon neutrality — or reducing the city’s net carbon footprint to zero — by 2050 or earlier. Matthew Vasilakis of the nonprofit Climate Action Campaign said climate science has made clear that previous goals of emissions reductions are inadequate.

“The climate crisis is bearing down on us today, and so this opportunity to kind of look at the climate action plan, understand how we need to elevate it, to set higher benchmarks and to create actual roadmaps to get things done — it’s just so important,” Vasilakis said.

The city has a public survey on its website meant to gather more feedback on the climate plan update and is planning more outreach events — with particular attention to disadvantaged and low-income communities. Officials are aiming to present the updated climate plan to the City Council for a vote in the first half of 2021.

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