County is 98% to Meeting its 2020 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Target
By implementing a variety of programs and initiatives designed to reduce our carbon footprint and protect natural resources, the County reduced 130,075 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) through the end of 2019, achieving 98 percent of the Climate Action Plan’s 2020 greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reduction target.
This is equivalent to reducing the emissions from 14,636,548 gallons of gasoline to fuel vehicles!
These findings and more are detailed in the County’s newly released 2019 Climate Action Plan Annual Monitoring Report. The report highlights the County’s implementation efforts and achievements in 2019 supporting the Climate Action Plan (CAP), which sets forth strategies and measures to reduce GHG emissions over the next 30 years.
Adopted in February 2018, the CAP includes 11 strategies, 26 measures, and numerous supporting efforts for reducing GHG emissions from the County’s local government operations and from activities within the unincorporated area. Multiple County departments oversee GHG reduction efforts to increase water and energy efficiency, decrease pollution and waste, conserve agricultural and open space land, and improve access to sustainable transportation.
The County has established GHG emissions reduction targets of 132,205 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) by 2020 and 897,145 MTCO2e by 2030.
2019 Action and Progress
Regular monitoring allows the County to track the effectiveness of CAP strategies and measures.
Ten CAP Measures contribute to the 2020 GHG emissions reduction target. The remaining 16 measures require the development of programs, plans, or ordinance updates to meet the 2030 target.
The 2019 Annual Monitoring Report indicates current progress has exceeded milestones across multiple sectors – resulting in seven of the 10 CAP Measures contributing to the 2020 target having exceeded the target.
Healthy, energy efficient buildings
- The County reduced overall energy use by 23%, exceeding the 2020 CAP Measure target by 13 percent.
- Solar photovoltaic installations at County buildings generated 6,480 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity, equivalent to powering 529 homes (with average usage) for one year.
- All new County facilities are designed to achieve LEED Gold certification or higher and are evaluated to be constructed as zero-net energy (ZNE), which means that they generate as much or more energy as the building consume.
Roadmap to cleaner vehicles
- Approved in October 2019, the Electric Vehicle (EV) Roadmap accelerates EV ownership and charging infrastructure installations throughout the unincorporated county.
- Since 2016, 37 EV charging stations have been installed for public use at 10 County facilities.
- In 2019, the County issued 58 permits for EV charging stations, where 83 percent were processed online.
Promoting reduction, reuse, repair, and recycling
- The County achieved a 60 percent waste diversion rate from landfills in the unincorporated county.
- The Department of Public Works conducted waste reduction, recycling, and composting workshops and supplied over 5,500 recycling and composting bins to schools, businesses, and multi-family residences.
- The County offered free recycling of tires, green waste, and metal at community cleanup events in Campo, Lincoln Acres, Valley Center, and across the region.
Conserving our natural habitats, building climate resilience, and preserving agricultural land
- Through the Multiple Species Conservation Program, the County has acquired 4,897 acres of open space land since 2014 and placed it into permanent conservation – removing the threat of future development, loss of critical habitat, and reducing emissions that would have occurred if the land were developed.
- The Department of Parks and Recreation received a Merit Award from California Trails and Greenways, an Achievement Award from the California Park and Recreation Society, as well as a NACo Achievement Award for the Old Survey Road Trail-User Video and Self-Issued Permits Program. The County’s innovative solution was designed to balance access with the protection of sensitive natural resources. A total of 620 permits have been issued since August 2018.
- The County’s tree planting program works to maintain and restore a mature stock of trees in County parks. Since 2014, the Department of Parks and Recreation has planted 17,591 trees at County parks and open space preserves, exceeding the target of 3,500 trees per year.
- The County’s Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement Program promotes the long term preservation of agricultural land. Through 2019, a total of 1,185 acres of agricultural land have been placed in easements, exceeding the 2020 target.
Conserving Ramona Grasslands
Tree planting at Santa Ysabel Nature Center
Read the 2019 Annual Monitoring Report to learn more about these and many other County sustainability programs. We are proud of our climate action work that has helped us achieve these accomplishments and the ongoing partnerships we rely on to build sustainability throughout the region.
Looking ahead, the County will continue to provide resources and empower local communities to make homes more energy efficient, support cleaner vehicles, improve air quality, increase reuse and recycling, and conserve natural resources and build climate resilience to contribute toward GHG reduction efforts in our community.