Achieving a Zero Carbon future for the San Diego region means that we must stop burning fossil fuels and embrace 100% clean energy in every sector — from electricity to transportation to buildings. It also means transforming the way we grow and develop so that we grow in urban areas — near existing jobs, schools, and transit — while preserving our backcountry.
Reaching zero carbon will require transformational change and unlearning, learning, and adapting to new ways of living.
This is important because, as the landmark United Nations IPCC Report explained, staving off the worst impacts of the climate crisis will require us to go beyond what local and state laws currently commit to. We must reach zero emissions.
What Will Happen If We Don’t Reach Zero Carbon?
The events of last year are a preview of a dystopian future where we don’t make the necessary interventions to put us back on the path to a safe and livable future.
Not only was it the hottest year on record, our region was also plagued with fires, cliff erosion, and extreme heat waves. All of this happened in the background of the COVID-19 pandemic, which began as an animal-to-human disease transmission. In a warming, deforested world, we are creating the conditions for the next pandemic.
How Can We Chart The Course To Zero Carbon in San Diego County?
We must mobilize at every level to stop the climate crisis. Here in San Diego County, we have an opportunity to lead on climate by adopting Zero Carbon Climate Action Plans (ZCAP) at cities and the County that will help us tackle our largest sources of emissions, while building a more sustainable, equitable, and just future.
Changing gears at the County is especially important, since they have stymied progress for decades. The good news is that we now have a majority of climate champions on our County Board of Supervisors: Chair Nathan Fletcher, Vice-Chair Nora Vargas and Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer. Just last week, Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer announced her vision to build a Climate Action Plan that achieves zero carbon by 2035.
We stand ready to help them achieve this bold vision. Through our new Five Fights, we’ve built the framework to take on the biggest local drivers of climate change.
By securing 100% clean energy, bikeable walkable neighborhoods, world-class transit, shade trees, and all-electric homes and buildings, we can begin to build a Zero Carbon future for our region. We look forward to working with the Board of Supervisors on a Zero Carbon Climate Action Plan that prioritizes:
Affordable housing near jobs and transportation, not dangerous sprawl development
Clean, all-electric homes and buildings, not dangerous methane gas for heating and cooling
A world-class transportation system, where walking, biking, and public transit are safe and convenient so San Diegans can get out of their cars and into their communities.
We Must Center Equity In Climate Solutions
We must ensure that equity is at the center of all of these solutions because, due to systemic racism, people of color disprortionately live in hazardous areas with polluted air and water, causing health and economic disparities. We can begin to address these inequities through a truly transformative and inclusive vision for a Zero Carbon future.
This means a future where transit-dependent communities — who bear the burden of pollution — are centered in transportation planning, where everyone has access to good green jobs, and where every community can enjoy clean air, clean water, and the benefits of neighborhood nature. With San Diego’s Communities of Concern at the table leading critical climate decisions, we can ensure that the communities most affected by the climate crisis are the first to receive the benefits of climate solutions.
We have the solutions, now we just need the political will. We need all-hands-on-deck to push for a Zero Carbon future and a ZCAP. Click here to get active by signing up for Zero Carbon email and text alerts.
Together, we can rise to the challenge of our time and build a better future.