Leaders from six continents came together in San Francisco last week to take climate action to the next level as part of the Global Climate Action Summit.
The San Diego Foundation was there to help showcase climate action from the San Diego region along with others from around the world. The goal was to build confidence among world and U.S. leaders to go even further in meeting urgent climate challenges we face by 2020.
The good news is the San Diego region has a lot to feel confident about in terms of how we measure up.
- All but one of our region’s 19 local governments are working on, or have adopted, a climate action plan with goals to reduce emissions.
- Our region’s biggest city – San Diego – is implementing an ambitious Climate Action Plan to reduce emissions and embark on a complementary plan to build resilience to climate impacts, such as heightened risks from wildfire, heat, drought and coastal flooding.
- An impressive six local cities have committed to securing 100 percent renewable energy by 2035 or sooner, with the first local Community Choice program to do so launched this summer.
- Efforts to address sea level rise have grown from a 2012 San Diego Bay Sea Level Rise Adaptation Strategy to almost all of our 10 coastal cities, the Port and the Airport Authority actively planning for sea level rise as part of a Resilient Coastlines effort with the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative.
- Our region is investing in more resilient, local water supplies through projects such as Pure Water San Diego which will supply one-third of the city of San Diego’s water by 2035.
- San Diego ranks #1 in the nation in solar installations, and high on other sustainability innovations around electric vehicles, battery storage and smart cities.
But we still have a long way to go.
Similar to statewide trends, our biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, transportation-related emissions, are still going up locally. We also need to ensure that the communities most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change are also benefiting from investments in cleaner energy, air, water and transportation options. Lastly, climate action plans are only as good as there is a will and a way to implement them.
We need bold action.
At the summit, The San Diego Foundation joined with mayors, governors, businesses and other U.S. leaders in signing the We Are Still In declaration. In doing so, The Foundation and partners nationwide are calling on world leaders to invest in solutions that stem the causes of climate change.
Public opinion research has consistently affirmed that San Diegans throughout the region believe climate change is happening, want our region to lead, and know that a healthy environment and strong economy go together. As a region, we can continue being leaders nationally by working together and investing today. The We Are Still In declaration confirms this regional commitment.
The San Diego Foundation remains focused on partnering with community in catalyzing greater regional action to address climate change.
About Nicola Hedge, MPIA
Nicola leads implementation of The San Diego Foundation’s environmental initiatives, working with donors, nonprofits, business and government partners to advance community efforts that protect our region’s clean air and water, natural resources and quality of life. Nicola joined The Foundation after working as a field research manager for a World Bank research project in rural Malawi and earning a master’s degree from UC San Diego’s School of International Relations and Pacific Studies.