What is a Climate Action Plan?
A Climate Action Plan is a long-range strategy to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, which include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and water vapor. Carlsbad’s CAP sets a baseline for current emissions, forecasts future emissions and establishes targets to reduce future emissions.
What will the Climate Action Plan Update include?
The CAP Update will modernize the city’s plan for reducing GHG emissions, including the following components of the CAP:
- Assessing revisions to current GHG reduction measures
- Exploring potential new GHG reduction measures
- Conducting a benefit-cost analysis of revised and potential new measures
- Evaluating existing GHG reduction targets and forecasts
- Developing implementation monitoring procedures
The CAP Update will also include preparation of the appropriate documentation to meet the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act or CEQA.
How does state legislation inform climate action planning?
AB 32 established a reduction target to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, which is included in the city’s existing CAP. Through implementation of the existing CAP, the city surpassed its 2020 GHG reduction targets. Other state legislation relevant to the existing CAP and CAP Update includes:
- By 2030, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels (SB 32)
- By 2045, achieve carbon neutrality (EO B-55-18)
- By 2050, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels (EO S-3-05)
How does the CAP relate to other city policies, like the General Plan?
Implementation of the existing CAP is required by the General Plan Sustainability Element via Policy 9-P.1 ("Enforce the Climate Action Plan as the city's strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions") and Policy 9-P.13 ("Use the city's Climate Action Plan as the platform for delineating and implementing measures to improve energy conservation, and increase renewable energy use (such as solar) in existing and new development").
Furthermore, implementation of the CAP is consistent with the city's Sustainability Guiding Principles, as well as the city's Community Value of Sustainability, which states "Build on the city's sustainability initiatives to emerge as a leader in green development and sustainability. Pursue public/private partnerships, particularly on sustainable water, energy, recycling, and foods."
How will the California Environmental Quality Act impact the CAP Update?
The city will determine the appropriate CEQA documentation for the CAP Update as its contents are finalized. The city will consider the nature of the proposed action to adopt the CAP Update, along with reasonably foreseeable responses to the proposed action and potential environmental effects associated with compliance response when preparing the CEQA document.
What is a “qualified CAP?” Will the city prepare a qualified CAP Update?
The city will be developing a qualified CAP Update for purposes of California Government Code Section 15183.5. Compliance with Section 15183.5(b) allows future development projects to use the CAP Update for their CEQA GHG analyses. The existing CAP is a qualified CAP, and implementation of the existing CAP also serves as mitigation for the City’s General Plan Update.
Once adopted, how will the city evaluate progress of the CAP Update?
The city releases an annual report which evaluates progress in implementing the city’s existing CAP. The most recent annual report was published in April 2021, with a new annual report expected in the Spring of 2022. The CAP Update will include new implementation and monitoring procedures to follow once the CAP Update is adopted.