Climate Action Plan process

Conduct a baseline greenhouse gas emissions inventory and forecast emissions to 2020 and 2035 (completed)

The inventory provided critical insights into the sources and sectors that contribute to emissions resulting from city operations and community-wide activities. A greenhouse gas emissions inventory was the first step and was the key to developing a successful Climate Action Plan. A baseline year was selected to provide a benchmark to compare progress going forward.

An inventory and forecast helped the City to:

  • Identify the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions within the city
  • Understand emission trends
  • Quantify the benefits of activities that reduce emissions
  • Establish a basis for developing an action plan
  • Track progress in reducing emissions
  • Set goals and targets for future reductions

Green House Gas Emissions

Greenhouse Gases are Increasing Due to Four Human Activities:

  1. Combustion of fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide is produced when gasoline is burned in automobiles, and when coal and natural gas are burned to heat and light our homes and businesses. About three quarters of the carbon dioxide emissions produced by human activity during the past 20 years are due to the burning of fossil fuels.
  2. Deforestation. When vegetation is cleared, burned, or left to decay, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. Vegetation also absorbs carbon dioxide. Once the vegetation is gone, less carbon dioxide will be absorbed out of the air.
  3. Decomposition of organic matter. The decay of organic landfill waste releases both carbon dioxide and methane into the air. Methane is over 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.
  4. Raising Livestock. Animals such as cows and sheep consume large quantities pf vegetation and release methane as a byproduct of digestion.

Important Side Benefits of Implementing a Climate Action Plan:

  • Provides more pedestrian-and bicycle-friendly options
  • Uses energy and water resources more efficiently
  • Improves public health
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions and pollution
  • Retains jobs and promotes new jobs with new technologie
  • Promotes innovation and new market-based strategies
  • Makes communities more livable and comfortable

old courthouseQuantify emissions reduction from existing measures (completed)

Understanding the impacts of existing measures and programs was necessary in developing the emissions reduction target and the Climate Action Plan. In the past several years, the City of Santa Ana has developed a variety of projects and implemented programs that have reduced emissions below the "business as usual" model. Please visit the City's Sustainability Accomplishments.

Identify emissions reduction measures (completed)

The community and stakeholders will be included in the process to provide valuable input and feedback on the Climate Action Plan. A variety of approaches are used to develop a list of measures for consideration, including talking with various professionals and experts, discussion with Council and advisory boards, and soliciting public input through public meetings and the internet. Meetings will be held for the public to learn about the process of creating the Climate Action Plan and to discuss the greenhouse gas emissions inventory and goals. An analysis will be performed on potential measures to determine emission reductions, cost of potential measures, co-benefits, funding, support and feasibility.

Adopt emissions reduction targets for the forecast years (completed)

The City selected emissions reduction targets that are ambitious, practical, and consistent with Assembly Bill 32, which requires the State to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020. The targets demonstrated the City's commitment to mitigate environmental impacts. Emissions reduction targets were selected for the City operations and for the community as a whole. Both will have targets selected for years 2020 and 2035.

Develop a Climate Action Plan

The Climate Action Plan includes detailed steps that City government and the community can take to reduce their impact on the environment and reach the reduction targets. A Draft Initial Study and Negative Declaration was prepared, in full compliance with the CEQA Guidelines, for the Climate Action Plan. The Draft CAP and Negative Declaration will include a public review process for 30 days. The Climate Action Plan and Negative Declaration are expected to be adopted in December 2015.

Implement the Climate Action Plan

An implementation strategy will consist of a timeframe for action, cost estimates and potential funding sources, and will identify opportunities to leverage existing programs. The plan also identifies opportunities to review or update regulatory mechanisms such as the zoning ordinance, subdivision ordinance, urban design standards and the building code. The City will continue to promote the measures and provide updates through articles and press releases, the City website, and the Santa Ana Green Newsletter.

Monitor process and report results

Updates will be provided to City Council on the progress of reaching the emissions reduction targets annually.

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