Regional Decarbonization Framework (RDF)
The integrated Regional Decarbonization Framework (RDF) is a partnership to move the region toward zero-carbon emissions.
It is the County’s science-based, wholistic
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.
NEW: The County of San Diego has a Request for Proposals (RFP)
out for Community Outreach and Engagement Services on Regional
Decarbonization (RFP #11709) with an extended closing date of June 29
by 3:00 pm. You can view the documents by visiting BuyNet at https://buynet.sdcounty.ca.gov/ and searching for
Learn more and
get engaged in the project
Public Outreach Events - Come Join Us!
Advance registration is required for each to receive the event Zoom
Community Meetings: Large public meetings occuring monthly with the intent to engage and educate the general public. Each will be 6pm-8pm.
See recordings below - March 24, April 19 (see recordings below)
May 17 (recording coming soon)
July 26, 6pm-8pm, register here
Live translation will be provided. You may request translation services on your zoom registration form for a specific workshop by 5 p.m. the Monday before the scheduled meeting. We look forward to your participation.
Questions about the forum can be emailed to
Sector Workshops: Intended to provide stakeholders who want a more detailed dialogue with subject matter experts, focusing on key sectors. Thursdays from 2pm-4pm.
See below for recordings - Energy: April 7, Land Use and Agriculture: April 14, Transportation: April 21, Buildings: April 28 (recording will be available soon), Jobs: May 5 (recording will be available soon)
Download RDF Documents
Draft Putting San Diego County on the High Road (workforce development report)
Download RDF Sector Workshop Presentation Slides
Board Letter, January 27, 2021(3). Framework for the Future: Developing a Regional Sustainability Plan to Guide San Diego County Towards a Zero Carbon Future
Board Letter, July 14, 2021(3). Framework for the Future: Developing a Regional Sustainability Plan Update
Board Letter, February 9, 2022 (6). Recieve the Report on the Draft Local Policy Opportunity Analysis as part of the Regional Decarbonization Framework Update
Board Letter, March 16, 2022 (5). Receive an Update and Approve a Contract Related to the Integrated Regional Decarbonization Framework
Watch Recordings of Past Workshops
Here are the recordings from the April 21 transportation workshop
April 21 transportation workshop - English
April 21 transportation workshop - Spanish
Here are the recordings from the April 19 public meeting
April 19 meeting - English
April 19 meeting - Spanish
Here are the recordings from the April 14 workshop on decarbonizing land uses.
April 14 land use workshop - English
April 14 land use workshop - Spanish
Here are the recordings from the April 7 workshop on decarbonizing the energy sector.
April 7 energy workshop - English
April 7 energy workshop - Spanish
Missed the March 24 public meeting? We've got you covered. You can watch it in English or Spanish below.
March 24 workshop - Spanish
March 24 workshop - English
Watch the staff presentation on the Draft Local Policy Opportunity analyisis to the Board of Supervisors on February 9, 2022.
(Go to 1:07:25 in the video for the RDF presentation)
Watch the staff presentation on the Draft Technical Report of the
Regional Decarbonization Framework to the Board of Supervisors
on November 17, 2021.
(Go to 45:25 in the video for the RDF presentation)
Watch the September 2021 Public Workshop Recording
The County held a public workshop on September 13, 2021 to seek input in the development of the Regional Decarbonization Framework. The workshop also included a presentation by Elena Crete, who is the Climate & Energy Program Manager for the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
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.
- Technical Working Group
- 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.”