Leadership and collaboration has allowed the San Diego region to rise to the forefront of climate action planning in the state. Nearly every local government has adopted or is developing a Climate Action Plan (CAP), and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is facilitating consistent approaches to CAPs through its Regional Climate Action Planning Framework (ReCAP).

ReCAP is a first-of-its-kind technical framework for local climate action planning that identifies best practices and consistent methodologies, yet offers flexibility for each jurisdiction to adapt to their local circumstances. In addition to a “user friendly” visual summary document, ReCAP includes six appendices which contain detailed, technical information covering the steps in the iterative climate action planning process:

  1. Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventories, Projections, and Target Selection Provides information on how to develop GHG inventories, methods to estimate and project GHG emissions, and how to choose emissions reduction targets to include in a CAP.
  2. GHG Reduction Calculation Methods for CAP Measures   Describes California’s approach to GHG reductions and the relationship to CAP measures, the purpose and role of GHG reduction analysis, how to select CAP GHG reduction measures, methods to estimate GHG reductions from CAP measures, the visualization and presentation of results, and the emerging issues related to estimating GHG reductions.
  3. Benefit-Cost Analysis for CAP Measures Provides an approach to Benefit-Cost Analysis of a CAP, including metrics, analyzation methods, data needs and assumptions, how to present the results, and associated limitations. This appendix answers the questions, “What is the benefit or cost for each measure to reduce one metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent?” and “What are the financial impacts to participants associated with each measure”?
  4. CAP Implementation Cost Analysis Reviews the process, methods, evaluation considerations, presentation strategies, and associated limitations of an Implementation Cost Analysis. Implementation Cost Analyses focuses on the internal costs and resources necessary for a local jurisdiction to implement a CAP.
  5. California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and Climate Action Planning Provides an overview of the climate action planning process and how it relates to CEQA by reviewing the requirements for a “qualified” CAP and the accompanying CEQA documentation, project streamlining procedures, and legal considerations.
  6. CAP Monitoring and Reporting     The last appendix discusses CAP monitoring considerations and outlines a framework for monitoring emissions and GHG reduction measure performance.


ReCAP guides the Climate Action Planning Services that SANDAG provides to member agencies through its Energy Roadmap Program. As of November 2018, 12 out of 19 local jurisdictions in the San Diego region have adopted a CAP and another 6 are in development.

SANDAG will be periodically providing updated GHG inventories and CAP monitoring reports for local jurisdictions through its Energy Roadmap Program. These documents will follow the methodologies developed in ReCAP, which will be updated as new information, policies, and data become available. As CAPs are developed, updated, and implemented, ReCAP is expected to continue to support local climate action planning efforts in the San Diego region.

ReCAP was developed with the assistance of both the Energy Policy Initiatives Center at the University of San Diego and Ascent Environmental.