San Antonio, Texas Climate Action and Adaptation Plan - SA Climate Ready

San Antonio Climate Ready is a Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) that provides a roadmap to achieve equitable climate mitigation and resilience goals for San Antonio, Texas - one of the largest and fastest growing cities in the U.S. The City of San Antonio aims to be carbon neutral by 2050 and the CAAP identifies mitigation strategies intended to advance that goal, inclusive of adaptive ecosystem restoration and social equity strategies. As temperature and extreme heat events increase while annual precipitation decreases across the region, the plan also identifies 45 adaptation strategies to address these climate impacts and many more. 

The Vulnerability and Risk Assessment completed as part of the CAAP identified twelve priority climate-related risks to be addressed through the plan’s adaptation strategies. The highest climate risks determined for San Antonio include increased exposure and risk of injury to vulnerable groups from heatwaves, increased impacts from high ozone concentrations, and increased infrastructure damage from wildfires.  

The Adaptation strategies are detailed in a table and organized into seven categories: 

  1. Strengthen public health systems
  2. Enhance emergency management and community preparedness
  3. Promote, restore, and protect green infrastructure and ecosystems
  4. Protect local food security
  5. Increase resiliency awareness and outreach
  6. Ensure equity in adaptation

 

The San Antonio CAAP is centered around climate equity. The CAAP emphasizes that mitigation and adaptation policies and projects must prioritize frontline communities and actively include them in planning and implementation. Mitigation and adaptation strategies should also simultaneously seek to reduce existing and avoid additional burdens to such communities. Multiple adaptation strategies identified in the CAAP specifically address climate equity concerns.

The CAAP includes a Climate Equity Screening Tool to be used to evaluate potential benefits and burdens to vulnerable groups. Example worksheets are provided to illustrate the process that key community equity stakeholders will work through prior to implementation of each mitigation and adaptation strategy.

Some of the many adaptation strategies in the plan include to:

  • Conduct a heat risk assessment to manage extreme heat impacts, focusing on low-income, public housing, and City-subsidized residential buildings. 
  • Flood-proof critical infrastructure including the transportation, building, utilities, IT and telecom sectors.
  • Establish and maintain fire breaks, forest tracks, water supply points, and other blue infrastructure networks to mitigate wildfire impacts.
  • Prioritize assistance to vulnerable populations in the building retrofit program for flood protection. 
  • Work with agriculture experts to identify and test more drought- and pest-resistant crop options for local food production
  • Develop a green and blue infrastructure plan for water management and temperature regulation. 

Some of the plan’s GHG mitigation strategies for Promoting Biodiversity and Healthy Ecosystems are also strong adaptation strategies, including: 

  • Developing solutions for carbon capture and storage in vegetation, soil, and through green infrastructure such as the tree canopy and restored wetlands. 
  • To assess the urban heat island (UHI) effect and develop a UHI mitigation and adaptation plan with a focus on vulnerable populations and ecosystems. 
  • To integrate adaptation into land use and permitting processes with a goal of maximizing the benefits of natural geographic and watershed features.

The CAAP recognizes various forms of structural and institutional discrimination that contribute to social inequities and greater climate vulnerabilities in frontline communities. It also acknowledges the importance of recognizing the adaptive qualities of marginalized communities (eg. reliance on walking and public transit, minimal water and energy use, and strong social cohesion): “there is much to be learned from them, as they embody many qualities that personify what a sustainable and climate ready community is.”

On June 22, 2017, City Council passed Resolution No. 2017-06-22-0031R in support of the Paris Climate Agreement; directing city staff to develop a plan to help San Antonio meet the objectives of this agreement. Approximately two years later, on October 17, 2019, City Council adopted the CAAP by Ordinance 2019-10-17-0840.

Publication Date: October 17, 2019

Related Organizations:

  • City of San Antonio, Texas

Sectors:

Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Adaptation plan

States Affected:

Impacts:

Go To Resource