by Murtaza Baxamusa / Center on Policy Initiatives / April 22, 2009
The carbon footprint of the average San Diegan — including residential energy use and transportation — is larger than that of the average resident of Los Angeles, a review of available data shows. San Diego lags behind LA in policies and programs to reduce energy use.
San Diegans travel 23% more road miles per year than our notoriously car-reliant neighbors in LA – 9,463 miles per capita. Less than 6% of San Diego’s energy comes from renewable sources, far below the state-mandated 20% utility companies are required to reach by 2010.
Those are among the findings in , a policy paper issued on Earth Day 2009 by the Center on Policy Initiatives.
In recent years, Los Angeles has become a world leader in policy innovation to reduce energy use, using a combination of standards, incentives and public investment, said CPI Research and Policy Director Murtaza Baxamusa, Ph.D. The policies enacted by the City of San Diego, on the other hand, rely exclusively on voluntary incentives. For example:
- Los Angeles is replacing all streetlights with low-energy lights and installing solar panels on city-owned properties, as well as retrofitting all city-owned buildings to meet green standards and applying the standards to new buildings.
- San Diego applies the standards only to new and remodeled city-owned buildings.
- Los Angeles requires all large construction projects to meet green building standards.
- San Diego offers private developers an expedited process if they voluntarily meet the standards.
- Los Angeles uses a combination of grants, loans and subsidies to help residents and businesses install solar power.
- San Diego has a financing program for homeowners and loans for businesses to install solar.