Climate Action & Sustainability

Climate change has already affected our communities, raising temperatures, increasing wildfire risk and expanding drought. A report published by the United Nations in August said climate change globally is unprecedented, widespread, rapid and intensifying. The County of San Diego continues to respond to this existential threat. 

The County’s Department of Planning & Development Services is working hard to create a new Climate Action Plan that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated by anticipated future development in unincorporated San Diego County communities, and from County operations — and aim to reach net zero carbon emissions.

But the County is not stopping at its unincorporated boundaries. It is also aiming to lead a Regional Decarbonization Framework, working with the County’s cities, transportation agencies, school districts and other public agencies — to reduce carbon emissions to zero throughout the region by 2035.

In the meantime, the County continues to take multiple actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the environment. That runs from planting thousands of trees to installing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and encouraging EV ownership, buying open space land, building green with solar power and developing conservation and sustainable farming practices. Those and other actions helped the County exceed its 2020 emission goals by 22% and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 160,743 metric tons. The County’s expanded  teleworking efforts have also reduced 2,690 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from June 2020 to Sept. 2021. This is equivalent to the energy use of 324 homes for a year or 44,480 tree seedlings grown for 10 years. Our long-term teleworking plans will also help the County reduce its facility footprint including its number of buildings, and electricity and water usage.

Looking to help County residents who may be thinking about buying an electric vehicle, the County published the Electric Vehicle Consumer Guide — a website with information about the benefits, costs, incentives, and even a link to start shopping for vehicles. The website was the latest addition to the EV Roadmap the County created in 2019, designed to build charging stations, encourage people to buy electric vehicles, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

A new community choice energy program will provide residents in the unincorporated areas of the county with a choice when it comes to buying electricity. The County joined a community choice energy program, or CCE, with the cities of Chula Vista, Encinitas, Imperial Beach, La Mesa and San Diego. It allows the agencies to buy electricity for residents and businesses and offers customers competitive utility rates and more renewable power options. The CCE launched in March 2021 and is expected to start serving unincorporated area customers in spring 2023.

In March, the County completed its largest acquisition of sensitive habitat, wetlands and potential passive park land and hiking trails in a decade, purchasing the historic, 2,151-acre Star Ranch area in Campo. In addition to protecting wildlife and promoting health, keeping the land from being developed is expected to eliminate nearly 3,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

6,459

Beach Water Samples Collected or Evaluated

399,168

Pounds Household Hazardous Waste Collected for Recycling or Disposal 

11

Megawatts of Solar Power at 8 County Sites

48%

Decrease in Greenhouse Gas Emissions at County Operations Since 2010