SAN DIEGO — The San Diego City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve the updated 2022 Climate Action Plan, health officials announced.
The plan commits the city to reduce levels of diesel particulate matter by 80% from 2016 levels by 2040, the Environmental Health Coalition stated in a release.
“I’m thankful to the City Council for unanimously passing the City’s Updated Climate Action Plan – which will put San Diego on the forefront of climate action nationwide, setting a target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035,” San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria tweeted. “The window to avert climate disaster is rapidly closing, and this moment demands aggressive action. Implementing this more ambitious plan won’t be easy, but the financial cost and human consequences of inaction are almost unimaginable.”
Diane Takvorian, executive director at Environmental Health Coalition, says it’s a “major win for environmental justice communities,” since air pollution has traditionally been excluded from climate change solutions.
“These goals will be meaningless if the CAP doesn’t prioritize funding solutions for residents breathing the most dangerous air in the City, who are also the most vulnerable to climate change,” Takvorian said.
Community activists, however, want the city to continue to push for a commitment to prioritize funding for the most under-resourced and over-polluted communities in San Diego.
“The air quality is impacting my health and my livelihood. I’ve suffer from chronic rhinitis since I was an infant,” said Emily Villagrana, a lifelong Logan resident. “All of us want a clean San Diego, but it is more urgent for those that are suffering the health effects. Please don’t ignore us.”
An additional council policy to inform prioritization of climate actions is expected to come back to the city council for approval in February of 2023, officials said.