The revised San Antonio Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) was unveiled yesterday at City Council A-Session and released to the public later that afternoon. The City’s Chief Sustainability Officer Doug Melnick presented the revised plan, highlighting the updates and stressing the mass amount of community feedback received during the public engagement process. Total engagement included 288 events, more than 5,500 surveys completed, and 4,569 total written comments submitted.
Melnick emphasized that the CAAP serves as a framework and pathway toward carbon neutrality by 2050. The new plan clearly defines the city’s goals and objectives, which go beyond climate and reflect where the market is moving in regard to new technology. According to Melnick, most emissions come from buildings and transportation, and the key metric tracked is greenhouse gases. He stressed that no city will ever get to zero, but the revised plan will lead us to an 88% reduction by 2050. He went on to say that the CAAP aligns with best practices across the United States and the globe.
Melnick highlighted that the revised CAAP is specific to San Antonio and leads other communities in that it incorporates climate equity, which simply means identifying those most vulnerable and knowing the risk levels. While this may be tough to measure, the CAAP will start with asthma rates and medium wages. The revised CAAP also incorporates all the work already being done by CPS Energy, businesses, and others.
The most notable changes include a clear process for implementation, reporting and updating the plan as well as removing references to the plan’s costs. The initial version of the CAAP included one to three dollar signs tied to each strategy. These were meant to reflect whether the costs projected for each strategy would be less than $100 million, between $100 million – $1 billion, or more than $1 billion through 2030. Melnick stressed that recognizing costs was a priority in the revised CAAP, as it was most concerning to the community. As per the revised CAAP, every implementation strategy will go through a process before any policy is adopted, which will include strategy costs (fiscal analysis), technological feasibility, timeline, and equity.
Other updates include removing specific commitments to cutting emissions at CPS Energy’s power plants, having only carbon-free vehicles on the roads by 2050, and reducing city-wide energy use in buildings by 40 % by 2040 – the most controversial components in the initial plan. New to the CAAP are interim greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2030, 2040, and 2050.
The City plans on creating additional committees to help with governance and reporting, including: CAAP Technical and Community Advisory Committee, CAAP Climate Equity Committee, COSA CAAP Executive Team, and COSA CAAP Delivery Team. Melnick said these committees will help ensure the CAAP does not simply become another plan on the shelf.
The 2-week public comment period has begun. Click here for the Timeline and Next Steps. We encourage our members to review the revised plan and provide feedback directly to the City or to Stephanie Reyes, VP of Public Policy at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 210-229-2162. Count on your Chamber to keep you updated.
Click here for the City’s revised Climate Action and Adaptation Plan.