SOLANA BEACH — On Nov. 18, City Council unanimously approved the city’s first greenhouse gas baseline emissions inventory, which quantifies the amount of greenhouse gases produced from municipal and community sources.
Establishing a baseline is a significant and necessary first step to measure future progress of implemented programs aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The inventory was developed through a partnership with the San Diego Regional Climate Protection Network — an organization made up of 10 local governments in San Diego County — the San Diego Foundation and an international association of local governments committed to sustainable development.
Significant contributions to this project were made by the Clean and Green Team, a Solana Beach volunteer group that developed an independent study of nonpublic emissions.
Led by resident Jack Hegenauer, the team used statistical methods to project community greenhouse gas emissions back to 1990 levels, a standard baseline year commonly used to establish reduction targets. This historical data will be essential to further analyze the trends of community emissions and gauge the success of future greenhouse gas reduction programs implemented by the city.
The San Diego Regional Climate Protection Network established the year 2005 as the baseline year, due in large part to the availability of a complete set of data needed to prepare a comprehensive inventory. This baseline year will be used to measure future progress as programs and policies are implemented with the goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
This method has been approved by the California Air Resources Board, the governing agency charged with enforcing Assembly Bill 32, which mandates greenhouse gas reductions to 1990 levels by 2020.
City Council has already taken proactive and progressive steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in government operations and in the community. The city recently adopted recycling programs for plastic bags and construction and demolition debris.
It initiated mandatory LEED-silver certification or better for public projects and an indoor energy-efficient lighting retrofit and energy management plan at all municipal buildings. Council members also approved implementation of drought-tolerant, native vegetation at all new public projects and adopted green building and commuter incentive programs.
The city is currently working on developing additional programs to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These include a solar and energy-efficiency financing program and retrofit programs for residential building, and parking and street-light energy efficiency.
The city is also working on ordinances for mandatory commercial recycling and model-water efficient landscaping.
Residents who would like to participate in the development of these programs should attend Clean and Green Team meetings, which are held from 1 to 3 p.m. on the third Monday of every month at City Hall. For more information, call Dan King at (858) 720-2477 or visit the city Web site at www.ci.solana-beach.ca.us and click on the Green Flash link.