San Diego

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Adaptation and resiliency are core component of a comprehensive response to climate change. Strategy 5 of the City’s Climate Action Plan calls for a standalone climate adaptation plan to identify vulnerabilities – meaning where adapting to climate change is the most challenging take early actions, integrate climate adaptation into Climate Action Plan efforts, and invest in adaptation strategies that improve the lives of San Diegans in a variety of ways.

Best available science projects that varied impacts of a changing climate for the San Diego region, including:

  • Increased heat wave frequency and intensity.
  • Highly variable precipitation meaning more intense rain events and longer period of drought.
  • Increased wildfire risk.
  • Rising seas, contributing to coastal flooding, particularly during storm events.

These climate change hazards can impact the region’s people, economy, infrastructure, and natural environment.

2018 Earth Fair booth
Planning Department staff host Climate Resiliency Booth at 2019 Earth Fair.

The City of San Diego is already addressing climate change through a wide range of programs:

Climate Resilient SD

Climate Resilient SD will be the City’s comprehensive climate adaptation and resiliency plan, which will increase local capacity to adapt, recover and thrive amidst a changing climate.

Adaptation Strategy Engagement Tool

Learn more about potential adaptation strategies to address sea level rise, extreme heat, wildfire and flooding, and let us know which actions you would like to see the City take for a more resilient and thriving San Diego. The survey portion closed on June 5, 2021, but the engagement tool can still be viewed here:

Online Survey (English)Our Climate, Our Future, Climate Resilient San Diego

Online Survey (Spanish)

Online Survey (Tagalog)

Online Survey (Vietnamese)

Online Survey (Chinese)


Watch the virtual workshop!

On Monday, April 19, City staff held a virtual workshop so the public could learn more about the plan and share their ideas on how we can flourish as our climate changes. Watch the recording of the meeting:

Vision and Goals Engagement Tool

Earlier this year, the City created an online engagement tool to provide information on San Diego's changing climate and to hear from you on what San Diego looks like to you in a changing climate. The survey portion closed on Feb. 19, 2021, but the engagement tool can still be viewed here:

Engagement Tool (English)

Engagement Tool (Spanish)

Engagement Tool (Tagalog)

Engagement Tool (Vietnamese)

Engagement Tool (Chinese)


How does Climate Resilient SD implement the Climate Action Plan?

The City of San Diego’s landmark Climate Action Plan leads in efforts to mitigate climate change through programs and policies that aim to eliminate half of the City’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2035. However, even with strong mitigation efforts, climate change is a global issue with impacts being felt on a local scale. Climate Resilient SD will increase the City’s ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from climate change related impacts. Climate Resilient SD also implements the CAP’s social equity goals by prioritizing Communities of Concerns to ensure that investments and resources are prioritized for those with the greatest needs and fewest resources available to adapt.

What is the difference between mitigation, adaptation, and resilience?

Climate Migration
Climate Mitigation (City’s Climate Action Plan) vs Climate Adaptation (City’s Climate Resilient SD).  Image from the CalOES 2012 Adaptation Planning Guide.

Mitigation focuses on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to avoid the worst potential impacts of climate change.

Adaptation focuses on reducing impacts from climate change related hazards.

Resilience enhances the ability to bounce back from a disruptive event.


What has been completed so far?

Planning Process Chart
Climate Adaptation Planning Process. Steps 1-5 (grey) show the vulnerability assessment. Steps 6-9 show adaptation strategy development (blue). The City is now in the blue portion of climate adaptation planning. Image from the CalOES 2012 Adaptation Planning Guide.

The City has completed multiple vulnerability assessments to evaluate the risk that climate change related hazards, such as sea level rise, extreme heat, wildfires, and precipitation driven flooding, may pose to City’s assets and resources. These vulnerability assessments will help inform the development of Climate Resilient SD by identifying which assets and resources would be the best candidates for implementation of adaptation strategies. Adaptation strategies are actions that will minimize the vulnerability of an asset, resource, or community to a particular climate change hazard. Adaptation strategies can be education and outreach initiatives, new programs or policies, operational updates, or infrastructure projects.

What is next for Climate Resilient SD?

Climate Action Plan

To develop Climate Resilient SD, the City has been working collaboratively with community members and stakeholders and will be continuing to conduct public outreach throughout the plan’s development.

The City is currently seeking feedback on potential adaptation strategies to minimize the impact of climate change hazards and increase the resiliency of San Diego’s people, economy, infrastructure, and natural resources. Let us know which actions you would like to see for a climate resilient San Diego. Take the survey.

To develop Climate Resilient SD, the City has been working collaboratively with community members and stakeholders and will be continuing to conduct public outreach throughout the plan’s development here. After this survey, the City will be preparing a draft Climate Resilient SD plan to release for more specific and refined public feedback.

Together, we can prepare for and thrive in a changing climate while improving social equity, health, safety, and the environment for everyone

Vulnerability Assessments

Citywide Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment

The Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment was a key step towards completing Climate Resilient SD. Backed by the best available science and informed by a diverse Stakeholder Advisory Group, the Vulnerability Assessment identified and evaluated which City assets are vulnerable to climate change and the potential consequences that could occur. A high level overview of the findings is presented in the PDF icon brochure. Read the PDF icon full report.

Kid’s drawings from Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment outreach.
Kid’s drawings from Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment outreach.

Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment

The City of San Diego has long recognized the need to address the risks from sea level rise, storm surge, and coastal erosion. To better understand these risks, the City conducted a sea level rise vulnerability assessment with funding from a California Coastal Commission Local Coastal Program Local Assistance Grant. This vulnerability assessment is a technical report that presents key findings from the assessment of exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity of critical built, natural, and cultural assets to coastal hazards.

State Lands Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment

Pursuant to Assembly Bill No. 691 (AB 691), and as a local trustee of the granted public trust lands, the City completed a state granted lands sea-level rise vulnerability assessment, evaluating the impacts of sea-level rise on its public trust lands and detailing a plan to address vulnerabilities and mitigate impacts. The assessment considers the recommendations under the California Ocean Protection Council’s State Sea Level Rise Policy Guidance and the California Coastal Commission’s Sea Level Rise Policy Guidance to assess impacts of storms and extreme weather events, changing shorelines, trends in relative local sea level, and impacts to public trust resources and values. Through this assessment, the City identified the vulnerabilities of City assets and public trust resources and facilities, considered replacement or repair costs, and assessed the impact to non-market values, such as ecosystem services, for the years 2030, 2050, and 2100. To address these vulnerabilities, the City, with input from local stakeholders, compiled a list of potential adaptation and mitigation measures, organized by climate change hazard. These measures included with estimated costs, associated benefits, and timeframes for implementation.

King Tides

Ocean Beach pierKing Tides, or perigean spring tides, are the higher than normal high tides. These tides can cause coastal flooding and help to demonstrate how sea level rise may affect the coastline in the future. King Tides are natural and predictable, occurring 3-4 times a year when the alignment of the sun and the moon occur during a new or full moon.

To learn more and for information on how to get involved as a citizen scientist and to see photos of the tides along our coastline, check out the California King Tides project.

King Tides Diagram

More Information

Climate Resiliency in the San Diego Region

Climate Change and Resiliency in California