Climate Action Co-Benefits: Building Resiliency in Encinitas

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The Big Picture 

The City of Encinitas is actively addressing climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the adoption of a Climate Action Plan (CAP). The CAP, adopted in January 2018, was updated in November 2020 with bolder goals to hit our emissions reductions targets. Progress towards meeting those reduction targets is tracked in yearly CAP Annual Reports, where we highlight what the city has accomplished in a given year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Here we’ll highlight what we’re doing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and how these strategies and actions help make our community more resilient.  

What is Climate Resilience?

Climate resilience is often defined as “the ability to anticipate, prepare for, and respond to hazardous events, trends, or disturbances related to climate. Improving climate resilience involves assessing how climate change will create new, or alter current, climate-related risks, and taking steps to better cope with these risks.” (C2ES

How does the CAP improve climate resilience?

Here are just a few ways the CAP improves climate resilience through its mitigation measures and their associated co-benefits. Explore the whole plan at https://encinitasenvironment.org/action-plan.  

Building Efficiency

Action: Adopt a Residential Energy Efficiency Ordinance  

By requiring all existing property owners to implement energy efficiency retrofits, residents of Encinitas will experience a multitude of benefits. Energy efficiency retrofits bring cost savings from more efficient appliance usage, especially in the heating and cooling sector, which is very energy intensive. Retrofits will also bring more reliability during extreme weather events in avoiding power outages, as more efficient usage of energy will put less stress on the grid during events like heat waves. These efficiency improvements will also improve air quality for residents, both indoor and outdoor, as such improvements reduce harmful pollutants! Exposure to these particulates can lead to asthma and other related respiratory health effects, especially in vulnerable populations like young children and the elderly. Building on these benefits, healthy indoor air temperature and air quality help to improve overall comfort and productivity while we are residing in those spaces, the importance of which has become increasingly clear throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Water Efficiency 

Action: Promote Water Conservation 

Our local water agencies, San Dieguito Waster District and Olivenhain Municipal Water District,  actively support Encinitas in their efforts to cut water consumption. Both districts offer various incentives to encourage residents to conserve water which can also  help residents save money on water bills. In doing so, residents divert less water from the natural resources that the community sources its water from, which reduces the effects of drought and water shortages for the region as a whole. Further, water conservation reduces the amount of energy used to treat that water, lowering those energy costs in turn and lowering the emissions from such energy use.  

Carbon Sequestration

Action: Develop and implement an Urban Tree Planting Program 

Increasing the number of trees in Encinitas will not only support a healthy sequestration of carbon, but also add numerous public health benefits for residents of Encinitas. One such benefit of increased tree canopy is a reduction of summer peak temperatures and air pollution. The tree canopy reduces the urban heat island effect, keeping our parks and streets at a more pleasant temperature to allow for greater outside activity, while also protecting vulnerable populations like young children and the elderly from heat-related illnesses. The addition of more trees also enhances property values by increasing the curb appeal of the neighborhoods throughout the city, enhancing Encinitas’s natural beauty. City trees also function as healthy habitat for our native wildlife species, helping to preserve our area’s vital biodiversity for ecosystem function.  

Conclusion 

Building climate resilience means taking steps to reduce risks and vulnerabilities in each sector, preparing for increased threats, and building capacity to keep our community safe.  As the above actions highlight, our resilience must not only reduce emissions, but also make our people and communities stronger and more prepared for future threats.  As measures in our CAP continue to be updated and implemented, we are building a more resilient future. Explore our City’s resiliency measures further here and see how you can help make Encinitas more resilient for today and tomorrow.  

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