As part of the General Plan update program, the City of Carlsbad has developed a draft Climate Action Plan to help the city meet state goals for reducing greenhouse gases while supporting a community goal of promoting a sustainable environment. A Climate Action Plan is a long-range strategy to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, which include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and water vapor. Carlsbad’s Climate Action Plan sets a baseline for past and current emissions, forecast future emissions and establish targets by which to reduce future emissions. It also discusses potential environmental benefits that result from different methods of reducing emissions. The Climate Action Plan complements land use, mobility and other policies in the updated General Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Rather than requiring each development in the city, whether public or private, to devise its own reduction method, the Climate Action Plan identifies specific actions to reduce emissions on a citywide basis. The Climate Action Plan also promotes environmental best practices that conserve energy and, as a result, may reduce costs for the general public. For example, producing electricity from sustainable sources, such as solar panels, could result in long-term savings.
In 2005, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued an executive order that included the following targets for California:
- By 2020, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels.
- By 2050, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 20 percent of 1990 levels.
In 2006 the California Legislature passed the Global Warming Solutions Act, also known as AB 32, which established the 2020 emissions target and gave the California Air Resources Board the task of developing a plan to hit the target. In 2008 the Legislature amended the California Environmental Quality Act, a state law guiding development, to say that greenhouse gas emissions should be analyzed the same way as other impacts to our environment.
Since the adoption of AB 32, the City of Carlsbad has taken many steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote environmentally sustainable practices.