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Double Peak Park in San Marcos. The city's updated Climate Action Plan includes strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. File photo
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San Marcos approves updated Climate Action Plan

SAN MARCOS — The City of San Marcos has officially updated its Climate Action Plan (CAP) after unanimous approval by the San Marcos City Council at its Dec. 8 meeting. The comprehensive plan outlines strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stay consistent with state requirements.

The city adopted its CAP in 2013 as was required by Assembly Bill (AB) 32, known as the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.

After the state law changed and established much stricter greenhouse gas reduction targets, the City of San Marcos began updating its CAP, starting the effort in 2017.

The new CAP has a target reduction of greenhouse gases for the year 2030 to be 42% below the 2012 levels, which aligns with the state’s target for AB 32, according to the city.

Saima Qureshy, principal planner for the city, told The Coast News that the plan is partially funded by SANDAG, however, the implementation process, which could take up to 10 years, will be funded by the city.

She noted that the first five years of implementation will cost roughly $5 million, with $800,000 already budgeted.

“The process took a lot of data collection and trying to find what will work best for the city, as well as making sure it is in alignment with what is feasible without creating too many cost implications for the city,” Qureshy said. “We also have to make sure we are being regionally consistent with the rest of San Diego.”

The updated CAP includes eight strategies and 22 measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“The first step was to do a greenhouse gas inventory, we conducted that for the baseline year of 2012. Then, we did projections of what the greenhouse gases will be in future years, that’s how we came up with the target reductions for our city. Then we looked at the reduction measures we would have to implement to achieve that target,” Qureshy said.

In 2019, the city conducted public workshops where it presented its preliminary data and received some public input on what those final measures would be.

Some of these measures will target reducing impacts from the transportation sector, the energy sector, water consumption, diversion of solid waste and more. The biggest reduction will come from a measure that will switch the citywide electricity to be 95% renewable by the year 2030.

In early 2021, the city will be searching for volunteers to join the CAP Implementation Citizens Group to help the city begin the implementation of these measures. Residents can volunteer and apply and the council will appoint members.

The city said it will monitor the progress of the CAP implementation and will provide periodic public updates.