Global climate condition gains emergency status in Encinitas

(Charlie Neuman)

Del Mar, Solana Beach, San Diego also have declared climate emergencies


Encinitas has joined a growing number of cities in California and across the globe in declaring that the global warming situation constitutes a local emergency.

The City Council Dec. 16 approved a climate emergency declaration, similar to what might be done in response to an earthquake or a forest fire.

“This is nothing less than a planetary emergency,” Councilman Joe Mosca said as he described why he was supporting the measure. “We have to call it like it is .... and act appropriately.”

Among other things, the climate emergency resolution declares that Encinitas will commit to cutting greenhouse gas production rates by reducing the use automobiles and encouraging the use of bicycles and other alternate modes of transportation; will support climate-smart development; will educate residents about climate change issues; and will work with regional, state and federal authorities to address climate change concerns.

Brought forward by the city’s Environmental Commission, the climate declaration is among many climate change mitigation measures Encinitas has pursued of late. In November, the council approved an update of the city’s Climate Action Plan, which contains a host of strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change-related ordinances that have won council approval in recent years include ones that eliminate the use of gas-powered leaf-blowers, plastic bags and Styrofoam containers.

Encinitas ought to prioritize actions that can help reduce global warming concerns, council members have said, because it’s a coastal city and climate change will result in sea level rises that threaten coastal areas.

Councilman Tony Kranz said he was supporting the climate emergency declaration because he wanted to make the world a better place for his grandchildren. He said local governments need to step up and take action because the nation’s current leaders are not.

Encinitas is far from the first California city to enact a climate emergency. Large cities that have done so include Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose, a city staff report notes, adding that the neighboring towns of Del Mar and Solana Beach also have recently taken the action.

“The first such declaration was made in December 2016 in Australia, and since then over 1,400 local governments in 28 countries have made climate emergency declarations, including 73 in the United States,” the staff report states.

In other action, the council voted to:

  • Give final approval to a new permit system and regulations for group homes, including sober living houses where people stay while they are undergoing treatment for drug or alcohol addiction.
  • Spend up to $50,000 to both obtain the necessary environmental permits and then remove an estimated 300 to 500 cubic yards of sediment from a San Elijo Lagoon-area culvert that’s causing community flooding problems.

    — Barbara Henry is a freelance writer for The San Diego Union-Tribune