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In June 2012 the City of Santa Cruz adopted the its Climate Action Plan (CAP), outlining a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. By 2030, reductions must reach 40% (1990 is the benchmark year). How can we most effectively implement the CAP? read more

In June 2012 the City of Santa Cruz adopted the its Climate Action Plan (CAP), outlining a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. By 2030, reductions must reach 40% (1990 is the benchmark year). How can we most effectively implement the CAP?


Goals

  1. reduce emissions 30% from 1990 levels by 2020
  2. reduce emissions 40% from 1990 levels by 2030
  3. reduce emissions 80% from 1990 levels by 2050

AB32 - State Mandate to Act

In 2006, California passed AB32 - The Global Warming Solutions Act. It outlined statewide reductions in greenhouse gas emissions of 20% (from 1990 levels) by the year 2020, a 40% reduction by 2030, and an 80% reduction by 2050. While the state continues to implement statewide measures, such as the carbon-credit auction, and subsidies for electric cars and solar, every city in California is also required to have a plan outlining how they will meet these goals. Thus, every city in California has a Climate Action Plan.

30% by 2020 for Santa Cruz

The City of Santa Cruz lost major industrial tenants in the late '90s, including the Wrigley's factory, the Lipton factory, and the Salz Tannery (now home to the Tannery Arts Center). Combined, this resulted in a 15% decrease in the City's emissions. In other words, this loss meant the City had nearly met its 2020 goal without starting the process of implementing sustainability measures. To make sure the implementation does sufficiently get underway, the City set a 2020 goal of 30% reductions - 10% higher than the 20% mandated California wide.

Adoption of the Climate Action Plan and Funding

The Santa Cruz Climate Action Plan was officially adopted in June of 2012 by the City Council. The plan outlines numerous ways the City can meet its short and long term emissions goals. However, budget for the plan remains wanting. The plan was adopted during a time when the City had to cut programs to close a $5M hole in its annual budget. As a result, the Climate Action Plan remains un-funded. Ross Clark, the City's Climate Action Coordinator, is the only full-time staff dedicated to implementing the plan.

Emissions by Sector

In 2012 emissions generated in the City of Santa Cruz came from the following segments:

  • Transportation: 46%
  • Commercial: 27%
  • Residential: 22%
  • Municipal: 3%
  • Waste: 3%

Key Programs

The following is a list of the programs predicted to have the greatest effect on meeting the Climate Action Plan goals. The effect of each program is listed in tons of CO2 emissions saved (MT). Emissions in 2012 were 358,459 tons.

Residential

  • Increase market penetration of the Green Building Program to 10% of residential buildings by 2020. - 1,017 MT
  • Expand participation in energy efficiency upgrade programs to 25% of all homes within the City by 2020. - 848 MT
  • Implement the Solar Santa Cruz Program to increase the number of residential solar systems to 1,000 by 2012 and 5,000 by 2020 (from approx. 500 at present) - 7,228 MT

Commercial

  • Increase participation in the Monterey Bay Area Green Business Certification Program by 250 additional businesses within the City by 2020. - 3,750 MT
  • Increase the amount of energy efficient commercial space within the City to 30% by 2020. - 3,596 MT
  • Increase the number of solar systems installed on businesses to 500 by 2020 - 1,822 MT

Transportation

  • Reduce within-town car trips by 10% by 2020 - 19,091 MT
  • Double bike ridership through completion of a safe network of bike corridors by 2020 - 9,546 MT
  • Reduce trips by car to and from elementary and secondary schools by 30% - 2,864 MT
  • Reduce regional workforce single occupancy vehicle commutes 10% - 6,831 MT
  • Provide incentives for the switch of 20% vehicles to low-carbon/ high-efficiency alternatives by 2020 - 1,412 MT

Waste

  • Continue to implement programs to become a zero waste City by 2030 - 6,271 MT

Next Steps

The purpose of this workshop is to help implement the programs within the Climate Action Plan that will have the greatest effect. It should also be noted that the County is moving forward with a feasibility study of Community Choice Aggregation - a policy option that would set-up a county power authority to buy and sell renewable energy from/to residents.

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Officials

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  • Fred Keeley
    Treasurer, Santa Cruz County