What is the County's Climate Action Plan (CAP)?

    The CAP is a planning document that contains a series of measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next 30 years. These measures are administered through multiple County departments and focus on activities that occur within the unincorporated area of the region, and within County-owned facilities, regardless of location. 

    What does net zero emissions mean?

    A balance between greenhouse gas emissions produced and greenhouse gas emissions taken out of the atmosphere.

    Why is the County developing a CAP?

    The State of California (State) has emphasized reducing GHG emissions and preparing for the associated weather changes that can affect sea-level rise, wildfires, water supply, and other risks. Assembly Bill 1279, signed in 2022, outlines targets to achieve net zero carbon emissions or be ‘carbon neutral’ as soon as possible and ensure that statewide anthropogenic emissions are reduced to at least 85% by 2045.

    In addition to the State mandate, the 2011 General Plan Update (2011 GPU) Program Environmental Impact Report adopted several mitigation measures to minimize the significant effects of climate change in connection with the build out of the General Plan, including the development of a CAP to reduce GHG emissions consistent with State targets applicable at that time.

    How can I provide input?

    There are several ways you can provide input on the CAP and environmental documents. 

    1. Provide input on this site
    2. Participate in future public workshops or office hours with project staff
    3. Call or email project staff

    How do you determine what can or can't be included in the CAP?

    To be included in the CAP, measures and implementing actions must meet a certain threshold. They must all be within the County’s jurisdiction and ability to monitor progress over time, achievable within the County’s regulatory framework, and additional to existing regulations from the State or federal government. Measures must also be able to demonstrate their ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions using scientifically-backed methods and modeling.

    How do CAP Measures reduce greenhouse gases (GHG)?

    Measures reduce GHG emissions in three primary ways. First, some measures focus on creating new opportunities to avoid emissions, such as replacing gas-powered vehicles with zero-emission alternatives. Second, some measures seek to reduce emissions, such as implementing a County employee teleworking program that reduces the number of miles employees drive to work every week. Finally, some measures function to store carbon such as in natural lands and agricultural lands preservation and management. 

    How will the CAP impact my community and way of living?

    Actions identified in CAP measures will not only reduce GHG emissions, but they also have the potential to improve our lives such as planting more trees, finding ways to reduce utility bills, and reducing the waste that ends up in our landfills. CAP measures range from policies/regulations to programs to incentives and can show up in our lives in different ways as a result. Some industries might be impacted by policy changes as part of the CAP but ultimately the CAP seeks to protect and support our frontline communities so as not to create an undue burden or cause additional harms.

    I live in the City of San Diego, La Mesa, or another incorporated city in the region; how will the County's CAP impact me?

    The County's CAP is focused only on the unincorporated areas or County facilities, regardless of location. The CAP will not have a direct impact on communities or cities outside of these geographies. If you live in an incorporated city, you can likely find your city's climate action plan on their website.

    The County also has a regional effort to address climate change known as the Regional Decarbonization Framework. The Framework fosters regional collaboration between public agencies, universities, schools, business, labor, communities, and tribes, as well as leverage resources at the State and federal levels. The Framework is another resource for those who are interested in climate change efforts and live in an incorporated city.

    How does the CAP related to the Regional Decarbonization Framework (RDF)?

    The CAP is a legally required mitigation program for the County’s 2011 General Plan. The CAP governs emissions related to unincorporated area development and operations. The County's science‐based Regional Decarbonization Framework promotes public and private interests working together to move the entire San Diego region toward zero carbon emissions in transportation, buildings, energy, and land use by mid‐century. The RDF will help policymakers across San Diego identify ways their cities and the unincorporated areas of the county can decarbonize while working in harmony with neighboring jurisdictions as well as community, industry, environmental, business, and labor groups.