1/21/18: Encinitas Now Has the Most Ambitious Climate Action Plan in the Region

I’m happy and proud to tell you that Encinitas is continuing its environmental leadership in California. At last week’s City Council meeting, we unanimously adopted a Climate Action Plan that, according to a Climate Action Campaign spokesperson, is only the second “gold standard Climate Action Plan” in the region.

“Encinitas is setting the bar for what a Climate Action Plan developed in 2018 should look like and do,” said Climate Action Campaign Policy Advocate Sophie Wolfram during public comment. “We are excited to see the impact reverberate throughout the region.”

I took this photo during one of our recent stunning winter sunsets in Cardiff. Even though sea level rise is a reality, we can still enjoy the magic of our wide-open beaches at low tide and feel the joy of our local wilderness with the birds, sand and sea life surrounding us.

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.

Cities play a major role in combating climate change, and plans are critical to achieving any goals. I love this succinct quote from the beloved author of The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, which applies to every New Year’s resolution and should apply to every Climate Action Plan: “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

This editorial cartoon ran in the San Diego Union-Tribune last Friday, the same day that the story about Encinitas’ ambitious Climate Action Plan ran on the front page of the local section. That story is here. Despite the current direction of the executive branch of the federal government, we in Encinitas are committed to a healthier planet. (Courtesy of Steve Breen, San Diego Union-Tribune © 2018)

The Encinitas goal is to cut emissions 41% below 2012 levels in just 12 years. We are doing that with an implementation plan that is clearly organized and easy to monitor. It involves the city moving to Community Choice Energy, which is energy that is 100% 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% 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. 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.

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 our the city’s greenhouse gas emissions are generated by cars, but our main solution to reducing those 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 road map.

I’m particularly proud of our professional staff for implementing the vision that the elected leaders and our constituency have articulated.

In 55 seconds, this NASA video gives us a startling depiction of our climate change crisis. (Courtesy of NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio/K. Mersmann)

Here’s a San Francisco Chronicle article from last week, which also ran in the The San Diego Union-Tribune, about the latest alarming warming statistics from NASA.

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!

In service,

 

“A politician’s task [is] to bring reality and policy into the greatest possible accord with the ideal and the principled.”

— Jon Meacham, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power