Mayor Kevin Faulconer on Tuesday, September 30, released his long-awaited update to the city's draft Climate Action Plan.
The move came just a week after city-council president Todd Gloria, who released his own climate plan during a brief stint in the mayor's office, promised a large crowd of climate activists that the council would take swift action to encourage Faulconer to release his own plan. Relatively little has been heard on the climate front since Faulconer took office.
Prefaces from the two mayors' proposals share some similarity, both giving nods to ideas such as reducing energy and water use as well as apparently expanding transit options — Faulconer's proposal more vaguely refers to "supporting active transportation." His update does, however, stick with a goal of diverting 75 percent of the city's trash from landfills by 2020 and achieving net "zero waste" by 2040.
Faulconer's plan aims to "create green jobs through incentive-based policies," providing the manufacture and installation of solar panels as an example. He also addresses in his preface the need to reduce reliance on imported power and water, particularly in the face of extended drought conditions.
The update retains support for most of the measures called for in last week's city-council resolution, including targets of 100 percent renewable energy sourcing by 2035 and compliance with state emission regulations by 2050.
Faulconer, however, did back away from a proposed point-of-sale requirement that would require home sellers to perform energy-efficiency upgrades. The city currently is alone in the county in having a similar law already on the books requiring the installation of water-conserving fixtures when residential properties are sold.
Initial reaction from the environmental community was mixed, as policy advocates said it would take time to review the update's changes in depth.
"It looks like the overarching targets for greenhouse gas reductions are in fact the same, which is great," says Environmental Health Coalition policy advocate Kayla Race. "But we're really going to need to keep a close eye in further review on the low-income communities that are most impacted by climate change. We need to ensure that they're being prioritized for green infrastructure and development like clean energy and transit."