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Energy and Climate Change

Climate Change Planning and Programs

The State of California has recognized the critical role that regional and local governments play in meeting statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets and preparing communities for the impacts of climate change.

SANDAG prepares a Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) every four years to outline how the region will meet the targets mandated by the state for reducing GHG emissions from light duty vehicles. The most recent SCS is part of San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan.

Local governments also are assessing their community-wide GHG emissions from all sources and working on Climate Action Plans or other strategies to reduce emissions.

Climate Planning in the San Diego Region

More than half of the jurisdictions in the San Diego region have prepared or are developing a Climate Action Plan. The pages below offer resources for local governments at each phase of climate action planning: those just starting the climate action planning process, implementing their plans, or monitoring and updating.
Getting Started
Learn about what is included in a CAP and the tools and resources available to get started.

Implementing your Climate Action Plan
There are a number of programs that support CAP goals and reduce GHG emissions from government operations and the community.

Monitoring and Tracking
As a CAP is implemented, monitoring can help gauge whether programs and GHG reductions are on track toward attaining the CAP goals.

Regional Forums, Training, and Recognition Opportunities
The San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative, subregional groups, and other forums provide the opportunity to share best practices and collaborate on approaches to climate change. SANDAG can assist member agencies in training opportunities and getting recognition for sustainability efforts.

Climate Adaptation
Despite our best efforts to reduce GHG emissions, we are likely to face changes due to climate change. Learn about current efforts in the region and ways local governments can prepare for increased temperatures, extreme weather, sea level rise, wildfires, and other impacts.

California Climate Goals

Local CAPs complement California’s efforts for reducing GHG emissions. The State has set goals for reducing GHG emissions statewide through Executive Orders, legislation, and other policies, these include:

Executive Order S-3-05 (2005): calls for state agencies to work toward reducing GHG emissions as follows: by 2010, reduce GHG emissions to 2000 levels; by 2020, reduce GHG emissions to 1990 levels; and by 2050, reduce GHG emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels.

Assembly Bill 32 (2006), The Global Warming Solutions Act: legislates the 2020 target in Executive Order S-3-05 and calls for California to reduce GHG emissions back to 1990 levels by the year 2020. AB 32 also directed the California Air Resources Board to develop a scoping plan that details the strategies for attaining the 2020 target.

Senate Bill 97 (2007): required the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research to develop, and the Natural Resources Agency to adopt, amendments to the CEQA Guidelines addressing the analysis and mitigation of GHG emissions.

Senate Bill 375 (2008): directed CARB to set regional targets for Metropolitan Planning Organizations, like SANDAG, to reduce transportation-related GHG emissions from light-duty and passenger vehicles through coordinated land use and transportation planning.

Executive Order B-30-15 (2015): calls for a statewide GHG emissions reduction target of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and for CARB to update the Climate Change Scoping Plan to address the 2030 target. The Executive Order also calls for state agencies to update the state’s climate adaptation strategy and consider climate change in their planning and investment decisions.

In responding to Assembly Bill 32, and developing the scoping plan, the state recognizes the unique roles that State agencies, regional governments, and local governments each play in reducing GHG emissions. As a result, there are a number of statewide programs that reduce the bulk of emissions to reach the AB 32 target, and specific areas where regional governments and local governments have a particular role to play.

The primary strategies to reduce GHG emissions statewide include:

CARB’s GHG Cap-and-Trade Program
Low Carbon Fuel Standard
Pavley Clean Car Standards (AB 1493) and Advanced Clean Cars Program
Transportation-Related GHG Targets and Sustainable Communities Strategies for Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) (SB 375)
Renewables Portfolio Standard
Conservation and Energy Efficiency in New and Existing Buildings

Project Manager

Allison Wood, Associate Regional Energy/Climate Planner
Phone: (619) 699-1973, Email:

For media inquiries, please contact the SANDAG Public Information Office at (619) 699-1950 or