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San Diego named America's 'greenest' city

Finance website WalletHub chose San Diego among 100 of the country's largest cities.

SAN DIEGO — San Diego is often named on "best of" lists. But, this one may surprise some of you.

According to a new study by WalletHub, San Diego is the greenest city in America!

Rounding out the top five are:

  • Portland, Oregon
  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Freemont, California
  • Washington, DC

“Yeah, it definitely surprises us," said Will Rhatigan, with the San Diego County Bike Coalition.

The coalition is a big advocate of cycling, in part because of its benefit to the environment.

Rhatigan says while San Diego has made great strides in being green, we're not where we should be.

"We don't have a lot of people getting around besides cars. Most of our buildings are still using gas heating. I think what that rating reflects is a lot of great ambition that we haven't necessarily realized just yet," said Rhatigan.

So, how exactly did WalletHub come up with its list of greenest cities?

The company compared the country's 100 largest cities, and gave scores based on 28 key indicators.

Among them:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Percentage of green space
  • Percentage of drivers
  • Bike score
  • Farmers markets

WalletHub also gave credit for smart-energy policies & initiatives, as well as
local programs promoting green-energy use, both of which have been high priorities of mayor Todd Gloria.

Just this past August, Gloria signed an ambitious Climate Action Plan, which, among other things, set a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035.

That's in addition to SANDAG’s Regional Transportation Plan, which looks to transform how people get around San Diego without relying on cars.

Rhatigan believes WalletHub took notice of that, but warns, while we've just been named America's greenest city, we need to do all we can to keep that title going into the future.

"If anything, this rating should be a wake-up call to us to say look we've set some of the highest goals in the country, now we're gonna have to work really hard to meet those goals," said Rhatigan.

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