Dreams of Green

greenSANTA CRUZ > The city presents its Climate Action Plan

As one of his last acts in office, outgoing Mayor Ryan Coonerty debuted the final draft of Santa Cruz’s Climate Action Plan (CAP), a set of guidelines aimed at reducing the city’s carbon footprint. The plan has been two years in the making and sets ambitious goals for the city to meet by 2020.

The CAP outlines a number of goals for residents, businesses and municipal offices alike. The plan’s strict guidelines aim to make Santa Cruz a carbon-neutral municipality by 2016 and to cut the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020.

“The city has been an environmental leader for decades and it’s going to be a challenge for us, but I’m confident that we can reach it,” says Coonerty.   

Coonerty acknowledges that the CAP sets “a high standard” with its goals, but he feels that it has a unique chance to succeed thanks to its focus on concrete figures.

“These aren’t vague goals,” says Coonerty. “These are hard numbers with specific milestones so we’ll be able to judge how we’re doing and continue to push ourselves.”

Among other things, the CAP includes the following goals and initiatives:

•    Reduction of energy consumption in city buildings by 40 percent
•    Expansion of solar power to include 5,000 homes and 500 businesses
•    Doubling the number of bike riders and increasing bike accessibility
•    Certification of 250 more Santa Cruz Green Businesses and expansion of Shop Local programs
•    Reduction of in-town car trips and single-person commutes by 10 percent

The CAP will be presented to city commissions during January and February and will be sent to the city council for approval in March. In the meantime, residents are encouraged to send feedback on the plan directly to the city council for review. According to Coonerty, the current draft of the plan is the result of months of collaboration with a number of residents and community organizations.

“We’ve done a lot of outreach in order to make sure that we heard from the community about the goals,” says Coonerty. “The plan has gotten more ambitious over time, which is a good thing.”

Click here for the city’s Climate Action Plan webpage.


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