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Reflecting on Our 6th Edition Climate Action Plan Report Card

“It is key that cities demonstrate how their CAP implementation actually benefits historically disinvested communities so we don’t see the January floods happen again.

—Tanisha-Jean Martin

Last week, we released our 6th Edition Climate Action Plan (CAP) Report Card! This report differs from previous iterations by grading how well nine San Diego cities implement their CAPs instead of the loftiness of CAP language and targets. 

Why It Counts

Eight of the nine graded cities have legally binding CAPs, requiring them to meet emission-reduction targets. These CAPs aren't just aspirational—they're enforceable under state law, allowing communities to hold their local governments accountable.

Let’s see this in action: Climate Action Campaign set a national precedent for cities missing their CAP targets. We took legal action, and now the City of San Diego must set emission reduction goals and ensure public disclosure, public hearings, and CAP amendments if it fails to meet these targets.

Bright Spots

We celebrate the three cities that received the highest scores—Encinitas, La Mesa, and Carlsbad—and encourage the rest of our region to replicate these bold steps. 

  • Encinitas is paving the way for a gold-standard incentive that would kick dangerous gas out of Encinitas’ homes and buildings.

  • Carlsbad has exceeded its 2025 targets, with participating worksites and properties showing an increase of 37% of commuters walking, rolling, biking, or taking public transit to work. 

  • La Mesa is building dense infill development and affordable housing near businesses and transit! 

The Bottom Line

Many of our cities have ambitious goals yet are falling behind in achieving them.

To meet the effectiveness of bold Climate Action Plans, we recommend committing to comprehensive and serious funding, creating regional climate networks, and prioritizing electrification. We urge cities to adopt a legally binding CAP to increase transparency and accountability. Cities must prioritize climate action to build resilience and protect residents against worsening climate impacts.

As the January storms and floods once again highlighted, those most at risk are the communities repeatedly left behind.

What’s Next?

There are bright spots, but the key takeaway is that our cities are off-track. Encinitas is finally brave enough to move forward with building electrification. We need more of this: more groundbreaking and bold implementation today.

We’re seeing cities large and small struggle with implementation and funding. Even cities with strong climate plans, such as the City of San Diego, are falling behind in reaching targets due to lagging implementation efforts. 

The San Diego region must focus on transforming these blueprints into tangible actions to move forward. Our cities can make significant strides toward an equitable and sustainable San Diego by learning from top performers.

Thank you from the CAC team!

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