City's climate action plan moving forward - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

City's climate action plan moving forward

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A working group formed to implement provisions of the city of San Diego's plan to address climate change held its inaugural meeting Friday and will soon begin issuing recommendations.

The 17 members represent various stakeholder groups, including City Council members, builders, labor, business, the disposal industry and transportation planners.

Councilman David Alvarez, who chairs the group, said members will work to make sure the goals of the plan are met.

"Our climate action plan is very aggressive, it's very forward-thinking -- it's the best in the nation, I think," Alvarez said. "This group is focused on ensuring that we implement it in a way that makes sense for San Diego, and that we're successful."

When he announced the formation of the group last month, Alvarez said he worked with the mayor's office on a structure that would be useful to both the City Council's Environment Committee and city staff.

He said the group will evaluate the resources given to implement the plan and advise the committee on how to measure success. Members will also have a coordinating role, as several boards and council committees work in areas that touch on part of the plan, which was approved two months ago.

Councilman Scott Sherman is the vice chair. Joe LaCava, who heads a committee made up of community planning group directors, also sits on the panel.

Other members include land-use consultant Marcela Escobar Eck; Matthew Adams of the Building Industry Association; Rob Anderson of San Diego Gas & Electric; Climate Action Campaign Executive Director Nicole Capretz; Environmental Health Coalition policy advocate Monique Lopez; Micah Mitrosky of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; land use planner Howard Blackson; Sean Karafin of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce; Steve South of EDCO Disposal; Colin Parent of Circulate San Diego; water use and utility management consultant Marsi Steirer; obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Bruce Bekkar; and Hanna Greene of the Center for Sustainable Energy.

The mayor's office is scheduled to release an implementation plan next month.

Among other things, the climate action plan establishes a goal of reducing emission levels by 20 percent in 2020 and by half in 2035, using levels recorded in San Diego in 2010 as the baseline.

The plan, passed unanimously by the council, also envisions a mix of regulatory mandates and incentives that would encourage construction of energy- and water-efficient buildings; installation of local renewable energy projects; land use decisions that promote walking, bicycling and use of mass transit; reducing waste; and creating programs and policies that will allow the city to respond to the impacts of climate change.

Working group members also want to make sure that a regional transportation plan recently approved by the San Diego Association of Government won't inhibit the city's climate goals.

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