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Climate: Stronger Targets, Wider Scope

800px-I-80_Eastshore_FwyCurrently, the California Air Resources Board  is setting targets for reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions from cars for each of the state’s regions.

These targets are important because they guide each region’s land-use planning and transportation spending. After the targets are adopted, each region then must show how it will meet its target in its Sustainable Communities Strategy.

California is leading the nation in addressing climate change, especially with the passage of SB 32 (Pavley) and the Governor’s Executive Order B-30-15, mandating that the state must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

The SB 375 targets are an important tool to help achieve these climate goals.

ClimatePlan is calling on ARB to strengthen its greenhouse-gas reduction targets for regions throughout the state.

Regions wrestle with tougher targets

To help meet our state’s climate goals by 2030 by reducing vehicle miles traveled, every Californian would need to drive just 1.6 fewer miles every day.

The Air Resources Board (ARB) kicked off the update process with a series of workshops in Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Fresno in March 2017.

At the workshops, ARB staff said that we will need to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by 7.5 percent by 2030 in order to achieve the state’s climate goals.

To achieve that statewide VMT reduction, current regional reduction targets would need to be doubled. That might sound like a lot — but on average, it means that every Californian would need to drive just 1.6 fewer miles every day.

Regional agencies (also called metropolitan planning organizations or MPOs) have also presented their initial analyses on targets. While some regional agencies believe they can achieve higher targets (that is, greater reductions), most regions say it will be difficult to meet their current targets — let alone higher targets. You can see each MPO’s analysis here on ARB’s SB 375 page.

ClimatePlan is committed to working with MPOs, as well as regional and statewide partners, to achieve ambitious SB 375 greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets that:

– Provide meaningful benefits to low-income and disadvantaged communities.
– Promote equitable infill development and preservation of natural and working landscapes.
– Improve air quality and public health outcomes for all Californians.
– Encourage ambitious land use and transportation planning strategies that reduce our reliance on automobiles.

Scoping plan should elevate VMT as a key strategy

With the passage of SB 32, ARB is updating the 2030 Scoping Plan. Once completed, this plan will be the state’s roadmap for how to meet the goal: reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

ClimatePlan is working with our partners to ensure that the Scoping Plan includes a robust strategy to reduce how much Californians drive; we have written letters to ARB on this. There are many strategies identified in our Leading Practices report that regions can implement, and efforts the state can make as well. We will need a combination of strategies at the local, regional, and state levels to meet the goal of reducing VMT by 7.5 percent by 2030.

Comments were due on the draft 2030 Scoping Plan in April, and the plan will be adopted in June 2017.

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