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San Diego County's New Board of Supervisors Move Towards Zero Carbon Emissions Within 15 Years

01/13/21

Today the County Board of Supervisors adopted a measure introduced by Chair Nathan Fletcher and Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer to begin the development, adoption, and implementation of a new and ambitious Climate Action Plan (CAP) to dramatically reduce the county’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  

The goal is to create and enact a CAP that not only reaches, but exceeds state-mandated GHG reductions. The vote also called for integrating the CAP with a Regional Sustainability Plan, a new strategy to help align the County’s climate efforts with those of jurisdictions throughout the region. 

“We face a climate crisis and now we have new leadership committed to climate action,” said Supervisor Lawson-Remer. “This is a climate-conscious Board of Supervisors committed to decarbonizing San Diego as quickly as possible, in a way that creates green and sustainable jobs and prioritizes social equity.” 

“It is essential that we craft a climate action plan that is effective and innovative – and that can serve as a national model for how we can address the climate crisis,” she said. 

San Diego County is uniquely vulnerable to the effects of climate change, such as sea level rise, coastal erosion, heat, drought, flash flooding, and wildfire. 

“Given the dire impacts that climate change is projected to have on our community, we need immediate action,” said Chair Fletcher, who also serves as a member of the California Air Resources Board. “A net-zero carbon economy is achievable, and will make our region more prosperous, more equitable, and more livable.” 

Supervisor Lawson-Remer won a landslide victory this past November, beating her opponent by more than 17 points, on the promise of ambitious action to mitigate the effects of climate change.  

The County was forced by the San Diego Superior Court to vacate its prior CAP due to its reliance on out-of-county carbon offsets, which the California Court of Appeal agreed violated state environmental law. County staff anticipates having an updated CAP before the Board in late 2022 but the Board is committed to cutting emissions before then. 

Creating a new CAP aligns with Chair Fletcher’s Framework for the Future of San Diego County. The Framework prioritizes communities and populations in San Diego that have been historically left behind. Through this Framework, Chair Fletcher is fighting for: racial justice, health equity, economic opportunity, environmental protection, government transparency, and fundamental changes to county operations.