Climate Action

Climate Action Plan Progress

Improved more than 1 percent from
2015 to 2016

How are we doing?

Climate action received a thumbs-up because the number of cities in San Diego county that adopted climate action plans (CAPs) grew from eight in 2015 to nine in 2016. In addition, five jurisdictions and San Diego County are in the process of developing CAPs. Climate planning is important to mitigate the impacts from climate change. Last reported in 2012, San Diego County’s emissions forecast is expected to be updated by the end of 2017. See more information.

Climate Action Plan (CAP) Status

(San Diego Jurisdictions, 2016)

Del Mar was the only city in the county to adopt a climate action plan (CAP) in 2016, joining nine other cities and the Port of San Diego. Five jurisdictions and the County of San Diego are in the process of developing plans and four jurisdictions have not yet committed to developing a CAP. For a ranking of the best CAPs, visit Climate Action Campaign’s CAP Report Card.

Data Source: Climate Action Campaign Report Card, 2017

Why is it important?

  • A key way to address climate change is through policy and planning. As more cities enact climate action plans, more data will be readily available to track and measure progress against past greenhouse gas emissions and energy-use baselines.
  • Health and economic impacts of climate change can disproportionately affect already vulnerable environmental justice communities.
  • According to a report by The Earth Observatory at NASA, climate change can increase the number and severity of storms and coastal flooding which threaten San Diego’s seaside bluffs, coastal wetlands and real estate.

Relative to the 1960 baseline, the sea level in San Diego has increased by 3.2 inches since 1995. Dynamic changes in sea level are expected to occur, and although there was a decrease in sea level rise from 2015 to 2016, the overall trend shows a large increase.

Data Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Sea Level Trend 9410170 San Diego, California, 2017

Existing regulations are necessary to decrease San Diego’s emissions over the next 20+ years, otherwise it is forecasted that we will have higher emissions in 2050. The emissions forecast and greenhouse gas inventory is expected to be updated at the end of 2017. Learn more about the 2012 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory.

Data Source: Energy Policy Initiatives Center & University of San Diego School of Law, 2012 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory and Projections for the San Diego Region, Appendix D, 2015

  Idea for Change

Policymakers and planners should consider sea level rise modeling and statistics in general plans and land use plans to ensure that today’s investments build resilient cities for the future. The San Diego Foundation is preparing a sea level rise study to inform planning and convey the importance of insurance policies and property owner and resident preparedness. In addition to planning, cities should develop ways to reach out to residents, particularly those who live in areas most likely to be affected by climate change, to begin a community conversation about climate change impacts and opportunities to build for resiliency.

  Bright Spot

The city of San Diego is staying accountable to achieve the goals that are set out in its climate action plan. The city's 2016 Annual Report shows that compared to the 2010 baseline, 2016 communitywide GHG emissions were reduced 17%, carbon footprint per capita was reduced by 22% and residential energy use was reduced by 16%. Learn more.

  What are we measuring?

We measure climate action by tracking the number of cities and jurisdictions in San Diego County that are making progress in adopting and developing climate action plans (CAPs). In addition, we track the change in local sea level as well as greenhouse gas emissions estimates and forecasts. Learn more about the data.