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San Luis Obispo says it's on track to reach carbon neutrality goal, updates climate action plan

KCBX News, Randol White

The City of San Luis Obispo says it's on track to reach its goal of carbon neutrality by 2035, and has updated their climate action work plan for the next four years.

The city's climate action plan includes four goals: planting trees in open spaces, providing more electric vehicle chargers, incentivizing building owners to support all-electric infrastructure and continuing to provide safe transportation that supports transit, walking and biking.

This month, the city approved the update to the climate plan after months of community feedback.

“We were able to build trust and learn from stakeholders that don't typically participate in the city's planning processes,” Lucia Pullman said.

Pullman is San Luis Obispo’s Sustainability and Natural Resources analyst. She presented the new update with SLO’s Sustainability Manager, Mike Read at the December 13 meeting.

Pullman said many of the city’s sustainability goals have already been reached since the adoption of the original climate action plan in 2020.

They adopted a transportation network to connect and protect bike lanes in various city spaces, teamed with Central Coast Community Energy to provide electricity with lower greenhouse emissions for residents and required nearly all new development to be all-electric.

Transit Unlimited Wiki
Expanding public transit is a part of SLO's cliamte goals.

However, one local resident, Janine Rands, said she’s concerned that plastic waste isn’t a part of the city’s updated plan.

"The city has three ordinances in place that address Plastics. These are not mentioned at all. I urge you to not pass this climate action forward until you have included a full implementation of this of Plastics in your economic circular economy," Rands said.

The Center for International Environmental Law estimated that continuing to produce and use plastic would add 850 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions into the Earth's atmosphere.

The agency said this amount of emissions is equivalent to the use of about 190 coal power plants, and by 2050 it could be equivalent to more than 600 coal power plants.

Right now plastic reduction is not a part of the climate action work plan, but the city said they are working towards a strategy that satisfies business owners, third party agencies and other local residents.

The next city council meeting will be next year, on January 10th.

Gabriela Fernandez came to KCBX in May of 2022 as a general assignment reporter, and became news director in December of 2023. She graduated from Sacramento State with a BA in Political Science. During her senior year, she interned at CapRadio in their podcast department, and later worked for them as an associate producer on the TahoeLand podcast. When she's not writing or editing news stories, she loves to travel, play tennis and take her 140-lbs dog, Atlas, on long walks by the coast.
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