In the month of January, one of the City Council’s most important actions was to confirm our environmental leadership in California. We unanimously adopted a 2018 Climate Action Plan that is only the second “gold standard Climate Action Plan” in the region, according to Climate Action Campaign Policy Advocate Sophie Wolfram. “Encinitas is setting the bar for what a Climate Action Plan developed in 2018 should look like and do,” she said during public comment. “We are excited to see the impact reverberate throughout the region.”
Encinitas adopting this climate plan is very significant. We are publicly stating that preventing climate change, or more accurately slowing its rate, is the right thing to do. The Encinitas goal is to cut emissions 41 percent below 2012 levels in just 12 years.
Cities play a major role in combating climate change, and plans are critical to achieving any goal. I love the succinct quote from the beloved author of The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, which should apply to every Climate Action Plan: “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
Our implementation plan is clearly organized and easy to monitor. It involves the city moving to Community Choice Energy, which is energy that is 100 percent renewable instead of fossil-fuel based.
We’ll also substantially reduce our waste stream — there’ll be more recycling and composting, and less trash in landfills. In addition, the plan involves more biking and walking infrastructure; more electric cars, including 100 percent zero emission vehicles for the city fleet; more recycled water; more shuttles to places such as Mira Costa (which currently has no public transit); and a bigger tree canopy. We’ll also require new homes and new commercial buildings to install solar water heaters. And the plan involves adopting a leaf blower ordinance that limits the use of 2-stroke leaf blowers. All of these things will not only reduce the amount of carbon we produce locally but will improve the quality of life for our residents.
In 2006 the state of California adopted the Global Warming Act which created a statewide greenhouse gas emission requirement for cities and counties to reduce emissions. In 2016 the targets were updated.
This Climate Action Plan will help us stay accountable and on-track. Even with inevitable changes in elected leaders and city staff, it also gives us the flexibility to learn as we go. Most of our city’s greenhouse gas emissions are generated by cars, but our main solution to reducing emissions will be through the purchase of clean energy. As we get more data about vehicle miles traveled and finalize our Active Transportation Plan, we’ll be able to improve and refine the plan regarding car emissions.
The City Council also unanimously supported a resolution opposing offshore oil drilling.
I’m particularly proud of our professional staff for implementing the vision that the elected leaders and our constituency in Encinitas have articulated. We’re constantly focusing on areas where we need to improve here at the city, but it’s also important to appreciate our achievements along the way.
Our new, ambitious and clearly defined Climate Action Plan is a gratifying success that all Encinitans can celebrate!
Encinitas Mayor Catherine S. Blakespear writes a monthly column in The Coast News. She can be reached at [email protected].