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Celebrating Five Years of CAC

It’s hard to believe, but it’s our 5th Anniversary at CAC!  Five years ago during this week (March 17, 2015 to be exact), CAC was granted our official non-profit status.  

We started with two people and a budget of less than $200k, and five years later, we are a staff of nine with a budget over $1M!  This is a testament to our bottom-up approach to winning transformative change that has established San Diego as a leader in climate action. 

While we have a lot more work to do, we are proud of all that we have accomplished in this short amount of time. Here are our top 5 wins in our first 5 years:

CAC Executive Director, Nicole Capretz, Announcing the CAP Plans
CAC Executive Director, Nicole Capretz

1. Winning a landmark, legally-binding 100% Clean Energy Climate Action Plan in San Diego.

Our first win was a big one — helping San Diego become the largest city in the country to commit to 100% clean energy. With a Republican Mayor and a bipartisan city council, it wasn’t easy, but we showed what was possible by building broad-based community support for a road map to cut our carbon emissions in half. When it did pass with unanimous support, it was a true — and all too rare — moment of broadly shared civic pride.  

Inspired by San Diego’s bold action, California soon set its own 100% clean energy goal – SB 100 – sparking a national race to 100%. 

Today, one-third of Americans live in a community that has committed to or achieved 100% clean energy. We’re proud to say that San Diego and Climate Action Campaign were at the epicenter of this movement.

100% Clean Energy CAP Commitment Timeline
100% Clean Energy CAP Commitment Timeline

2) Winning 7 Additional 100% Clean Energy Climate Action Plans in

San Diego

After securing the City of San Diego’s bold Climate Action Plan in 2015, we worked hard to replicate that success by urging other cities in the region to follow suit. Today, six other cities in our region have 100% clean energy Climate Action Plans. We also succeeded in securing a 100% clean energy commitment from San Diego Unified School District (the second largest school district in California). 

CCE Supporters Gathering On the Steps of SD City Council
Gathering On the Steps of SD City Council

3) Winning Energy Democracy for the Region through Community Choice Energy

After half a decade of tireless advocacy, cities in our region are finally committing to dramatically slash emissions with a program that will provide cleaner energy at competitive rates: Community Choice Energy (CCE). 

Community Choice Energy programs allow cities to provide a public alternative to our private utilities, helping cities take control of their energy future and ensuring a path to 100% clean energy. We now have eight cities participating in Community Choice Programs set to launch in 2021, with six more cities exploring the possibility.

San Diego Community Power (SDCP) will be the second largest CCE program in California and serve residents of La Mesa, Chula Vista, San Diego, Encinitas, and Chula Vista. SDCP is projected to:

Community Members Rallying in Support of Community Choice Energy
Community Members Rallying
  • save families and businesses a combined $1.2 billion on their energy bills, 

  • build over 1,000 megawatts of new local, clean energy projects

  • cut local GHG emissions by 1.9 metric tons, 

  • reinvest $1.5 billion toward clean energy programs and initiatives over 10 years. 

SDCP will also have a keen focus on building an equitable and sustainable 21st century workforce, exemplifying the very best of what CCE programs can achieve. 

4) Defeating a Freeway-Centric Transportation Proposal in 2016

Coalition Rallying In Opposition to SANDAG Measure A
Coalition Rallying

In 2016, we joined hands with a diverse group of labor, environmental, and social justice organizations to defeat a proposed ballot measure that would have locked us into more urban sprawl, congestion and freeways.

Striking down Measure A sent a clear message:

San Diegans deserve a transportation system that connects everyone to opportunity and one that is good for our health and the planet. This win opened the door to a new transportation vision for our region: world-class transit and bikeable, walkable neighborhoods. Stay tuned for exciting developments this year! 

5) Establishing a Model Climate Corridor on El Cajon Boulevard

Announcing our Model Climate Corridor Project at the Boulevard Busway Press Conference
Announcing our Model Climate Corridor Project

Through our El Cajon Boulevard Model Climate Corridor we are demonstrating how the actions we must take to achieve a fossil-free future will also lead to a better quality of life.

We fought alongside our partners to secure the Boulevard Busway, a 3-mile  bus- and bike- only lane on El Cajon Blvd, one of the most dense and heavily used corridors in San Diego. We saw this as an opportunity to integrate mixed-use development, affordable housing, efficient transit, and tree-lined streets to model an equitable, zero carbon region.

Boulevard Busway Route
Boulevard Busway Route

To get started, we partnered with the El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association and secured funding for 50+ shade trees to make this vision a reality.  Keep your eye out as the trees get planted, and new bus-only lanes around our region get installed.

El Cajon Boulevard Model Climate Corridor Mock-Up
El Cajon Boulevard Model Climate Corridor

With Gratitude

We are proud of these achievements, but we couldn’t have done it without you. We are thankful to all that have fought tirelessly with us, believed in us, and supported us. A big thank you to our partners, our volunteers, and our donors. 

Our Vision For The Next Five Years

Climate Action Campaign will continue to spark change from the ground up by shooting for the North Star in 2020: Zero Carbon. The best available science shows that we cannot protect our future unless we reach this goal. With your support, we can build capacity, mobilize our community, and catalyze systemic change for a safe and livable future. 

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