By Emilio Camacho & Leslie Walker

The County of Sacramento kicked off Phase 2 of the Climate Action Plan development at a workshop on Wednesday, August 25, 2010. Phase 2 will develop strategies to implement the Climate Action Plan (CAP), a comprehensive plan for becoming more resource efficient and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, originally released in May 2009. 

The County’s ambitious goals for the CAP include:

  • Achieving s GHG reductions required by AB 32;
  • Implementing County-wide cost-saving; increasing the demand for green collar jobs;
  • Building a green economy in the Sacramento;
  • Supporting future growth efforts; and
  • Positioning the County to compete for future grant opportunities.

In Phase 2 the County will prepare a detailed economic analysis of recommended actions and prepare an implementation schedule based on that analysis. According to the Department of County Engineering (DCE), Phase 2 will have no fiscal impact on the County because the CAP development is funded through an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant. Phase 2 will begin with actions focused on reducing emissions from County government operations (Phase 2A). Beginning in winter of 2011, the County will turn to actions to reduce community-wide emissions (Phase 2B).

According to DCE, Phase 2 will include an overall implementation timeline for identified actions and return on investment, available funding and staff resources. It will also include a methodology and process for measuring and tracking emission reductions.  The CAP will be periodically updated to reflect several needs: the latest technology and best practices regarding energy efficiency, resource conservation and GHG reduction; changes that may affect the feasibility or desirability of implementing certain measures; new or modified regulations, initiatives or goals identified at the state, regional or local level; and resources available for implementation.  In addition, the County anticipates developing annual reports to demonstrate progress toward achieving targets, assess the effectiveness of implementation, and propose revisions to the CAP.

In fall 2011 DCE staff will return to the Board of Supervisors to present the draft results of Phase 2A (County operations) and to provide more details on and initiate Phase 2B (community-wide emissions).

In its CAP effort, Sacramento County joins at least eleven other counties and dozens of cities who are preparing Climate Action Plans. (See Attorney General List of adopted CAPs.) Sacramento County is making working with surrounding counties, cities and relevant agencies, recognizing the importance of a cooperative approach to GHG reductions. Efficiency and reducing GHG emissions must be a joint effort.

A number of groups, including California League of Voters, Sierra Club, and Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS), have expressed their satisfaction with the County’s plan.

Emilio Camacho is a law clerk at Abbott & Kindermann, LLP and attending his third year of law school at the University of California at Davis. Leslie Z. Walker is an associate at Abbott & Kindermann, LLP. For questions relating to this article or any other California land use, real estate, environmental and/or planning issues contact Abbott & Kindermann, LLP at (916) 456-9595.

The information presented in this article should not be construed to be formal legal advice by Abbott & Kindermann, LLP, nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Because of the changing nature of this area of the law and the importance of individual facts, readers are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.