San Diego Receives Recognition For Climate Change Efforts

San Diego has been receiving a lot of recognition for their strides in the fight against climate change.

Kevin Faulconer, the Republican mayor of San Diego, has been instrumental in pushing for preservation of the city's environment, according to The Guardian.

Recently, Faulconer has been putting his efforts in making San Diego run on a 100 percent renewable energy by 2035, the Guardian reports. The mayor also intends to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent in 2050.

Despite Faulconer's Republican allegiance, he told the Guardian that he doesn't view the environment as a partisan-based issue.

"I've said from the very beginning there's enough partisan politics at the national level. I was a volunteer for our parks before becoming mayor; I love our natural resources, our beaches and landscapes. I feel strongly about protecting them."

San Diego's Democratic council has also been supportive of Mayor Faulconer's environmental initiatives. The Guardian reports that the city also plans on implementing new public transportation powered by electricity and recycling methane from sewage for water treatments.

According to the City of San Diego's website, the city ranks second nationally for their increased use of solar energy. San Diego has had a 26 percent solar panel increase in 2016. The Environment California Research & Policy Center's yearly "Shinning Cities" report praised San Diego for its use of 189 megawatts of installed solar capacity. Still, Faulconer hopes to continue improving his city, according to the City of San Diego's website.

"San Diego continues to lead the way in solar energy and remains a shining example to other cities when it comes to improving our environment through innovation...Increasing solar energy will help reach our goal of 100 percent renewable energy use in the city by 2035 – a key element of San Diego's landmark Climate Action Plan."

A major component of San Diego's implementation of environmental policies have been resulting in job creation. The city has been encouraging environmentally-friendly tech firms to locate their businesses in the city, according to the Guardian. Still, there are organization's that have been there for quite some time. Qualcomm has been in San Diego since 1985 working on creating environmentally friendly technologies and implementing biotechnology, according to their website. The company recently opened a green campus in Sorrento Valley, which features temperature sensors that are completely wireless, chargers for electric vehicles and an organic cafeteria, reported the Times of San Diego.

While San Diego has generally been successful in their environmental endeavors, they have faced challenges in the past. Nicole Capretz, who was responsible for writing the first version of San Diego's climate change plan, opened up about the city's previous hurdles to the Guardian.

"People have seen and felt the drought, the wildfires, the flooding."

She then explained how these catalysts have become instrumental for change in the city.

"People were witnessing a lot of things in their backyard. When you see your quality of life at risk, people start to wake up and say 'it's time.'"
San Diego's efforts have not gone unnoticed. Not only have the received national recognition, but people have been noticing the city's work internationally. Prior to Earth Day, The Times of San Diego reported that the city's two water projects; the City of San Diego's water-recycling program and a recently added desalination plant in Carlsbad was given 11 awards at a global water summit in Dubai.

[Photo by David McNew/Getty Images]