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Reflecting On Our 5th Edition CAP Report Card: Here's How Our Region Can Do Better on Climate

Updated: Jun 7, 2022

We were excited to share our 5th Edition Climate Action Plan Report Card last month and we hope that everyone has enjoyed reading it thus far!

As a reminder, every year CAC evaluates how well the region is doing in fighting the climate crisis and shares the results with you. Although it’s been a bit since our report was released, the key takeaways and recommendations are still the same. Keep reading to learn more.

Our cities are essential partners in the fight to stop climate change. This is why we created a report that cities and communities could use a resource to help guide the direction of and speed up the transition to a zero carbon future.

So how are our cities doing?

Our findings show that the current CAP commitments in our region don’t put us on the path to a safe and livable future. Our report concludes that there are 3 key components that cities are missing within their CAPs:

Climate Equity:

Every measure within a CAP should center equity and uplift communities of concern that have been and will continue to be affected by the climate crisis first and worst. To do this, cities must work with a variety of stakeholders and partners with trusted community-based organizations, rooted in and representing communities of concern, as they develop CAPs and implementation plans.

For example, last year CAC and other organizations partnered with the City of San Diego and the Institute for Local Government to do education and outreach on this plan to local communities on the City of San Diego’s Climate Resilient SD plan. Moving forward, cities must conduct robust outreach to ensure that their plans accurately reflect the needs of residents.

Above: Community members gathering at our Climate Resilient SD presentation

Implementation and Funding:

No city in our region has successfully and comprehensively implemented the strategies outlined in their Climate Action Plans. As cities update or draft new Climate Action Plans, they must adopt implementation and funding plans with associated costs. Implementation plans should include detailed specific costs, timelines, agencies, departments, and funding strategies. Simply put, if we don’t know how much a CAP will cost, we will never be able to implement or attract funds for it.

To help cities secure funding to adapt to and mitigate the climate crisis, my colleague, Brenda, recently provided all cities in San Diego County with a guide with resources on the state and federal grants they are eligible to apply for. We're fighting to ensure funding for projects and programs that will protect the lives and livelihoods of our most vulnerable communities.

Transportation and Building Decarbonization:

The region continues to struggle with decarbonizing the transportation and building sectors. Electrifying our transportation systems and buildings will reduce emissions from the largest and third-largest sources of climate pollution in the region, respectively. Cities must carefully develop new strategies and measures to decarbonize transportation and buildings to achieve a zero carbon future.

One bright spot is that we FINALLY have a chance to do something groundbreaking through the Let's Go! San Diego ballot initiative. Last year, our coalition of labor, environmental, and community-based organizations filed to begin the process to put our vision for world-class transportation on the ballot.

Earlier this month, our coalition submitted over 165,000 signatures in support of this new vision for how to get around San Diego. We're one step closer to turning the dream of a world-class transit system into reality—learn more from the video below!

These recommendations must be approached through regional collaboration to meet state zero carbon goals. A Regional Climate Network will help cities to standardize commitments and best practices, lure more state and federal funding, and foster regional unity all to effectively and efficiently stop climate change.

Check out Brenda’s recent blog to learn more about what that could look like.

The Good News:

There are still a few bright spots the region can be proud of, as our 5th Edition CAP Report Card demonstrated.

The cities of Encinitas, Escondido, and La Mesa are the region’s leaders on climate action and implementation. Their CAPs include up-to-date best practices on climate equity and green infrastructure. These CAPs are the result of strong political commitments and leadership from elected officials.

These cities should be a beacon of hope and an example of what other cities in the region should strive to emulate if we want to do our part as a region to stop the climate crisis. Check out the video below to learn more about how Encinitas, Escondido, and La Mesa prioritized climate action.

CAC is committed to holding cities accountable by advocating for equitable climate-friendly and climate-safe policies that mitigate the climate crisis.

If you haven’t had the chance to and would like to learn more about what your city is doing to stop the climate crisis, check out CAC’s 5th Edition CAP Report Card.

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