A Collaborative Effort to Lower the Region's Carbon Footprint
The San Diego Regional Decarbonization Framework is the County’s science-based, holistic approach to guide the region’s decarbonization efforts in partnership with the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy, and the University of San Diego (USD) Energy Policy Initiatives Center, and Inclusive Economics.
Download the reports:
The San Diego Regional Decarbonization Framework by UC San Diego - Full Technical Report
View the web version and the translatable version of the Summary for Policy Makers here to read the document in other languages.
Contact us at ZeroCarbon@sdcounty.ca.gov for any questions.
Please watch our engagement portal registration tutorial here to learn more about the portal registration process.
Learn more and
get engaged in the project
Outreach Events - Join us as we discuss implementation!
6 de diciembre de 2022, 6:30-8pm: Reunión comunitaria en español - Regístrese aquí
Past Workshops & Public Meetings
November 3, 2022: Land Use & Natural Climate Solutions Special Topic Working Group Meeting #2
November 1, 2022: Buildings Special Topic Working Group Meeting #2
October 27, 2022: Transportation Special Topic Working Group Meeting #2
October 25, 2022: Food Systems & the Circular Economy Special
Topic Working Group Meeting #2
October 20, 2022: Electricity Special Topic Working Group Meeting #2
October 4, 2022: Land Use & Natural Climate Solutions Special Topic Working Group Meeting #1
September 29, 2022: Buildings Special Topic Working Group Meeting #1
September 27, 2022: Transportation Special Topic Working Group Meeting #1
September 22, 2022: Food Systems & the Circular Economy Special Topic Working Group Meeting #1
September 20, 2022: Electricity Special Topic Working Group Meeting #1
July 26, 2022: Community Meeting on Next Steps Towards Implementation
May 17, 2022: Community Meeting on Stakeholder Feedback
May 5, 2022: Jobs Workshop
April 28, 2022: Buildings Workshop
April 21, 2022: Transportation Workshop
April 19, 2022: Community Meeting on Analysis of Local Policy Opportunities
April 14, 2022: Natural Climate Solutions and Land Use Workshop
April 7, 2022: Energy Workshop
March 24, 2022: Community Meeting
September 13, 2021: Public Workshop
Board of Supervisors Updates
August 31, 2022 (5): Receive an update on the Integrated Regional Decarbonization Framework and Design of Implementation Playbook
March 16, 2022 (5): Receive an Update and Approve a Contract Related to the Integrated Regional Decarbonization Framework
February 9, 2022 (6): Recieve the Report on the Draft Local Policy Opportunity Analysis as part of the Regional Decarbonization Framework Update
November 17, 2021 (6): Update on the Regional Decarbonization Framework
July 14, 2021(3): Framework for the Future: Developing a Regional Sustainability Plan Update
January 27, 2021 (3): Framework for the Future: Developing a Regional Sustainability Plan to Guide San Diego County Towards a Zero Carbon Future
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do we need this framework?
The global climate is changing, and we directly feel and see the effects of that change locally, in our communities, daily. This includes a higher frequency and intensity of extreme heat events, droughts, wildfires, storms and sea-level rise. Furthermore, a changing climate is causing immediate and long-term damage to our ecosystem, food production, health, safety, jobs, businesses, and our overall quality of life in the San Diego region. We need a coordinated response in our region to climate change.
Why is the County of San Diego leading this effort?
The County’s Board of Supervisors directed staff on January 27, 2021 (3) to develop a framework for a regional zero carbon sustainability plan in partnership with the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy which includes strategies and initiatives to achieve zero carbon emissions in the region. The Board acknowledged the adverse impacts of climate change across the region and recognized the leadership role that the County should take in climate planning.
Who will be preparing this framework?
The County has retained the School of Global Policy and Strategy at UC San Diego and the Energy Policy Initiatives Center at the University of San Diego School of Law (USD - EPIC). UC San Diego will utilize 6 consultants with technical expertise in energy, transportation and buildings systems to chart the pathways that reduce carbon. To ensure equity is upheld in the Framework and the local government policies that follow, USD - EPIC will compare recommended RDF policies to existing policies and identify gaps that should be addressed so underserved communities are included.
What is “decarbonization”?
Simply put, decarbonization is about reducing the gases in the atmosphere that trap heat. The goal is to achieve a balance of the carbon cycle in nature, so that the planet stops warming.
We would be utilizing a three-pronged strategy: reducing emissions of carbon dioxide to zero; reducing “super-pollutants” such as soot and smog; and carbon storage and capture through natural and technological means. Decarbonization also has a number of co-benefits, such as the investments and employment opportunities created in the carbon-free economy.
How will we know we have reached our goal in reducing carbon?
Our goal is to reduce heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, which is measured by scientists around the globe. USD’s Energy Policy Initiatives Center has computed the regional baseline of these gases in 2016 to be equivalent to 26 million tons of carbon dioxide. We can establish regional benchmarks to track our progress in decreasing this amount over time.
Why would other jurisdictions get involved in the decarbonization framework?
There are several regional sustainability efforts underway, including those by the San Diego Association of Governments. However, this is a unique effort to chart out the pathways in reducing carbon across the region. We anticipate participation by other jurisdictions because this will help us all reach our climate action goals. It will also foster collaboration among various municipalities and position our region to attract state and federal resources.
What are the key sectors that will be studied?
Some of the key sectors considered in this study are energy, transportation and land-use, and buildings and industries.
How is this different from the Climate Action Plan (CAP) the County is updating?
The CAP mitigates greenhouse gas emissions associated with existing and new development governed by the County’s 2011 General Plan. The Regional Decarbonization Framework is not linked to any specific land-use, transportation or energy plan. It will be a collaborative effort between the public and private sectors.
How will businesses be impacted by the framework?
The framework is a vision document being developed in partnership between the public and private sectors. It will identify the pathways to decarbonize the economy and consider the impacts of such pathways on existing businesses and workers. It will also identify new business opportunities in the less-polluting pathways. The adoption of regulations to implement the framework, by any local government would be within their authority.
How can I provide input in the framework?
We welcome your input and have provided several opportunities throughout the different stages of our work. Public input is organized into two phases. During the initial phase, as our consultants are doing the modeling, we will be conducting a public workshop and receive input through our website and email firstname.lastname@example.org. All input will be factored into the final report presented to the Board of Supervisors in 2022.
- 2022 Technical Working Group
- Brookings Institution and San Diego Regional Policy and Innovation Center report on city and regional climate planning and gaps
- 2021 and 2022 comment letters and emails and 2022 EngagementHQ comments provided directly on draft documents
- A Guide to Regional Decarbonziation by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. The Guide is also hosted on the SDG Policy Initiative website.
- Port of San Diego, Resolution 2021-014
dated February 11, 2021: “RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO
DEVELOPING A FRAMEWORK FOR A REGIONAL CARBON SUSTAINABILITY PLAN
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SAN DIEGO SCHOOL
OF GLOBAL POLICY AND STRATEGY.”
- San Diego County Air Pollution Control District, Resolution dated November 4, 2021: “RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO DEVELOPMENT OF A FRAMEWORK FOR A REGIONAL CARBON SUSTAINABILITY PLAN IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SAN DIEGO SCHOOL OF GLOBAL POLICY AND STRATEGY.”