City Attorney Mike Aguirre released a memo yesterday recommending adoption of all of the attorney general’s recommendations to fight greenhouse gas emissions stemming from growth in the city’s general plan.

The general plan spells out how San Diego should grow over the next 20 years. While it acknowledges that global warming is a problem, the plan concludes that the city’s future growth — it envisions more than 360,000 new residents — will cause an “unavoidable” increase in greenhouse gas emissions. The city, though, could take steps to reduce those emissions.

The state attorney general recently chided the city for failing to sufficiently mitigate the growth plan’s impacts on global warming, saying that the city should adopt enforceable steps to combat climate change.

“The Attorney General has offered excellent guidance in this regard,” Aguirre wrote, “but we can and must do even more.”

While the mayor’s land-use chief, Jim Waring, recently said the city planned to implement “most” of the attorney general’s recommendations, Aguirre said all the steps should be implemented, including:

  • Requiring new buildings to follow green design standards.
  • Requiring new developments to participate in a state-offered solar energy project.
  • Requiring new commercial development to incorporate renewable energy generation.

Aguirre’s memo reads in part as an environmental wish list. Among his other recommendations:

  • Implementing a mandatory city-wide recycling program.
  • Requiring new development to minimize its impacts on storm water drainage, encouraging construction of permeable surfaces that soak up rain runoff instead of deflecting it.
  • Minimizing water importation by maximizing the use of reclaimed water.

Aguirre said implementing his recommendations could stave off an attorney general lawsuit. The attorney general recently sued San Bernardino County over its treatment of global warming in its general plan.

“It just looks like San Diego is the recidivist when it comes to this and that we only respond to lawsuits,” Aguirre said. “We want to convince the attorney general that that’s not necessary.”

Aguirre and City Councilwoman Donna Frye have scheduled a press conference for 10 a.m. today to discuss the issue.


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