The Santa Barbara Climate Action Plan was prepared in response to directives of the City General Plan and State Legislature (AB 32-Global Warming Solutions Act, SB 375-Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act, SB 97 – California Environmental Quality Act). The Climate Plan identifies an inventory and forecasts of carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gas” emissions generated by the Santa Barbara community that contribute to accelerated global climate change. Strategies to reduce carbon emissions are identified in the areas of energy, travel and land use, vegetation, waste reduction, and water conservation. The Plan also identifies potential climate changes in Santa Barbara, and strategies to begin planning for adaptation to climate change effects.
The Climate Action Plan directs regular monitoring and reporting of plan implementation and status in coordination with General Plan implementation reporting. Starting in 2013, prior Climate Action Plan Implementation Status Reports can be viewed here.
Worldwide scientific consensus is that accelerated global climate change is occurring as a result of increasing amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that are emitted from human activities such as combustion of fossil fuels for electrical generation and transportation fuel. Individuals, groups, businesses, industries, and agencies in the Santa Barbara community and around the world are working to identify and implement measures that can reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that contribute cumulatively to accelerated global climate change.
The Santa Barbara Climate Action Plan identifies a communitywide carbon emissions inventory that estimates emissions from travel fuels and building utilities, and forecasts of future emissions generation. Strategies are identified for reducing future carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions through methods such as energy efficiency and “green” building designs and products, use of renewable sources of energy, reduction of vehicle trips and mileage, vegetation to sequester carbon, reduction of solid waste, and more water conservation. The analysis finds that with identified strategies, reduced emissions would meet and surpass State emissions targets for overall emissions level in the year 2020 (1990 emission level), and vehicle-related emissions in 2020 and 2035 (2005 emission level).
Even with carbon reduction efforts, current forecasts expect destabilized climate processes with serious effects around the world in the coming decades. Some of the likely future changes are warmer and drier weather, more extreme weather events (e.g., winds, storms, flooding, heat waves, droughts, fires), coastal erosion, inundation, and storm flooding from sea level rise, less snowpack and water supply, increased air and water pollution, changes in disease and pest transmission, geographic shifts of wildlife and plant species, changes to agriculture and food availability, increased energy demand, and effects on local economies (e.g., fisheries, tourism, recreation). The Climate Plan provides an overall assessment of Santa Barbara vulnerability to such climate