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Regional Collaboration Is The Path To Sustainability

Updated: Jul 13, 2022

Across the United States, cities, towns, and rural communities are increasingly realizing that achieving their economic, social, and climate goals requires a holistic approach and coordinated efforts. This is not a surprise.

Our current siloed approach to climate action is ineffective and dangerous to our future. Successful regional collaboration can speed up the exchange of information and spark cutting-edge research, new best practices, and effective community education.

Currently, most cities in San Diego employ Climate Action Plans (CAPs) to guide their emissions reductions strategies, however, our 5th Annual Climate Action Plan Report Card demonstrates that most CAPs require additional measures to decarbonize transportation and electrify all existing buildings. We can’t achieve this without regional collaboration.

Here in San Diego, we are beginning to see movement toward a more regional approach to addressing climate impacts. For example, the County of San Diego’s proposed Regional Decarbonization Framework (RDF) identifies the gaps and opportunities in regional climate planning in the areas of transportation, electricity, buildings, and land use.

We are glad to see the County adopt a regional lens, but we can and must do more.

We Need A Regional Climate Network

We urgently need a Regional Climate Network that can break down the existing silos, allowing cities to strategize, plan together, and secure the funding they need to meet regional and state climate goals. This is why we’re working with Assemblymember Chris Ward to champion AB 1640 which will establish Regional Climate Networks (RCN) across California.

There are existing models for what we’re hoping to achieve through a Regional Climate Network, including Sonoma's Regional Climate Protection Authority. They work to promote, fund, and strengthen local action through regional cross-sector and cross-agency engagement. In San Diego County, a Regional Climate Network would serve as a hub for coordinated action on climate action and adaptation.

This is important because climate solutions like clean transportation and clean energy cross city boundaries, so a regional network can help coordinate these shifts. The RCN would also be a central hub for raising and allocating funding and facilitating the equitable implementation of climate strategies.

The good news is that our bill, AB 1640, is still alive! It passed through the California Assembly in June, and now it has to get out of the Senate before it goes to the Governor's desk.

We’ve testified in Sacramento on behalf of the bill and worked to win the support of many cities and SANDAG. We'll keep fighting and pushing to pass the bill. But, with or without legislation, we intend to promote the creation of a regional table at SANDAG. We will keep you posted!

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