Concerns remain after city’s Climate Action Plan report

CARLSBAD — The City Council received its annual Climate Action Report Sept. 26 as the city begins to make strides in reducing greenhouse gases.

James Wood, the city’s environmental manager, delivered the report to the council and said the five strategic areas are energy efficiency, renewable energy, transportation, water and public outreach and education.

Two main sources for greenhouse gases are transportation and buildings, he added.

He said the city fleet and buildings are responsible for 1 percent of emissions and so it’s important for residents to help the city reach its state-mandated goals

Wood said the city is beginning to prepare ordinances for several of the strategic areas. For energy efficiency, heating and air conditioning upgrades have been conducted and energy efficiency is required in large development projects.

Regarding renewable energy, ordinances will cover photovoltaic solar panels, while panels will be included at the Pine Park Community Center.

Wood said transportation efforts center on reducing the number of miles vehicles have to travel as well as traffic management.

The city executed a memorandum of understanding with the San Diego Association of Governments.

In addition, electric vehicle charging stations are being added, while the city bought 11 hybrid vehicles to add to their fleet.

“Public outreach and education is huge for us,” Wood said. “We want to take a look at folks’ behavior and why they aren’t engaged with us.”

Diane Nygaard, president of Preserve Calavera and a conservationist, questioned why the city has not completed many action items as required by the CAP. She said many of those only take one to two years, which is a relatively short time considering most of the other items will take much longer.

“We all need regular reminders why this is important,” she said. “The climate report feels like somebody hit the snooze alarm. The CAP was adopted in 2015 and it’s been two years. Many of the action items were supposed to be done, but many of them are not done.”

Councilwoman Cori Schumacher said she was worried the report relied on SANDAG and with the lack of concrete data, the 2005 baseline established in the CAP would be thrown out leaving the city without information to compare the results.

One of Schumacher’s concerns was around the methodology differences in measuring the data from 2005 and now.

“My concern is that we’re going to hit 2018, 2019 and we’re going to be relying on SANDAG and finally we may get something form SANDAG but have to throw out the baseline,” she said. “One of my concerns is a progress report on how we’re doing. What are some of the smaller steps so we can encourage our residents? I’m not comfortable waiting on SANDAG to produce data for us.”

Mayor Matt Hall said his focus is on how to make the CAP work. He said building and reinforcing infrastructure is key in lowering greenhouse gases, carbon emissions and other pollutants to meet the established goals.

“Just as an observer, technology is changing so fast,” Hall said. “The more we can work on our infrastructure, the more we can partner and collaborate with our residents …  so if we want electric vehicles, we create the infrastructure so they can be used.”

The next steps, Wood said, are to continue implementing the plan, complete greenhouse gas inventories, continue partnerships, monitor progress and present the Fiscal Year 2017-18 annual report.

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