The newest member of the global clean energy movement is San Diego, thanks to mayor Kevin Faulconer’s support of the Climate Action Plan. The proposal, which was unanimously approved by the city’s democrat-majority council last December, aims to completely eliminate dependence on environmentally-harmful fossil fuels, making San Diego run entirely on renewable energy by no later than 2035. If successful, it will be the largest city in all of the United States to be powered by clean, renewable energy.
At present, San Diego produces more than 40-percent of its electricity from clean energy sources, including solar power. What makes the movement all the more significant is that it is the result of a bipartisan cooperation between San Diego’s Republican leader and democratic city council. Faulconer’s push to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by the year 2035 actually clashes with the ideology of the Republican Party, which has openly dismissed man-made global warming as “hoax”. Speaking about the decision, the mayor recently told the Guardian:
This isn’t a partisan issue. I’ve said from the very beginning there’s enough partisan politics at the national level. I was a volunteer for our parks before becoming mayor; I love our natural resources, our beaches and landscapes. I feel strongly about protecting them.
The plan, according to Faulconer, seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in half by the year 2035, and up to 80-percent by 2050. It includes a number of ambitious goals, such as instating over 35-percent increase in the city’s tree canopy coverage, introducing solar panel-fitted public transport, creating proper bicycle infrastructure to help decrease reliance on private vehicles, recycling and composting a major chunk of the city’s waste as well as switching at least half of the city’s cars to eco-friendly electric power.
Furthermore, the proposal emphasizes the importance of restoring the city’s natural ecosystems, including forests and wetlands. Additionally, it aims to recycle almost all of the methane generated as a result of water and sewage treatment, in the hope of reducing the effects of greenhouse emissions and global warming. If everything goes according to plan, San Diego will soon be one of several global cities to run entirely on renewable energy sources. Faulconer added:
I pride myself on being fiscally responsible and environmentally conscious. The two aren’t exclusive. I’ve never seen it as a zero sum game. We want a plan that is ambitious and leads the way for the rest of the country.