One of the most pressing issues facing our world today is climate change. In 2017 alone, climate change caused an estimated $340 billion in damages across the world.
Though the threat of climate change is global, its impacts will be felt directly at the local level. For example, in June of this year, San Antonio recorded above-average temperatures every day of the month except one, and had record high temperatures on eight of those days.
The problem will only get worse, unless we act now.
By 2040, San Antonio’s population is expected to grow by more than a million residents. At the same time, projections show our city is likely to experience over 20 more days of 100 degrees each year and three fewer inches of rain each year.
The City of San Antonio is already taking action. In 2019, the city adopted a climate action and adaptation plan called SA Climate Ready. This initiative was designed to combat the present and future challenges of climate change, in adherence to the Paris Climate Agreement. Within the plan are climate mitigation and adaptation efforts focused on clean energy, water conservation, clean air, transportation and emergency preparedness — all with the goal of creating a more sustainable, equitable and prosperous future for San Antonio.
At its heart, the primary objective of the SA Climate Ready plan is to make San Antonio carbon neutral by 2050. Although lofty, the city has already made notable progress in several areas. For example, San Antonio is ranked #5 in the nation for total installed solar capacity.
Two additional key climate action strategies include reducing building energy use and increasing “green” transportation. These two sectors account for 44% and 40%, respectively, of community greenhouse gas emissions. Both strategies will also improve air quality and livability in San Antonio.
For transportation, the city encourages people to become less reliant on daily car use. The goal is to reduce car use from 24 miles per day to less than 19 miles per day by 2040. To create this shift, the city is supporting electric vehicle use through the EV-SA initiative, which includes more publicly-accessible EV charging stations.
SA Climate Ready has recommendations for how individuals can contribute to this vital endeavor both at home and through local businesses.
At home, explore sustainable options including solar panels and home weatherization. To reduce transportation emissions, consider riding the bus, carpooling or biking.
Businesses can start by creating a recycling program at the office and schedule a waste assessment through the City’s ReWorksSA program. At the ReWorksSA website, business owners can explore ways to make their buildings and offices more energy efficient.
Everyone is also invited to take the SA Climate Ready pledge online.
Remember, small daily actions add up over time and can have a positive impact on our community’s environment! Click to learn more about SA Climate Ready.