California regions are not on track to achieve climate goals—what comes next?

New report from ARB: CA falling short on climate as driving increases

Last week, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) released a report that found California regions are not on track to achieve their climate goals. Regional plans to reduce emissions are not translating into changes on the ground. For more information, read our press release here and media stories from LATimes,  San Diego Union Tribune, SacBee, Grist, StreetsblogCA, Capital Public Radio, KPCC Air Talk, and  KPBS.

This report is a call to action. The LA Times Editorial Board wrote last week: “California will not meet its greenhouse gas reduction target unless there is a dramatic change in the way communities and transportation systems are planned and built.”

Here are a few of the key recommendations we support in the report:

Greater coordination is needed at the local, regional, and state levels

We are glad to see many priorities of the ClimatePlan network echoed in the report. For example, the report recommends local, regional, and state decisionmakers create and implement a Mobility Action Plan (MAP) for Healthy Communities for getting on track to meet the climate goals. Since the first meeting in June, we’ve been asking for an interagency workgroup to develop an Action Plan. We support ARB’s recommendation to create a MAP; to ensure we achieve our climate goals, we suggest that the MAP have a strong focus on equity and mobility justice; diverse stakeholder participation, including equity and public health experts and public members; and greater accountability. You can read our full response to the report and its recommendations here.

Better alignment between our climate goals and transportation spending is necessary

According to the report, the MAP should  address the housing crisis, displacement, new mobility, and several other issues that relate to how much people drive, including transportation funding. We completely agree that we need to take a closer look at transportation funding. Over the past four years, ClimatePlan and partners have worked hard to increase investments for sustainable transportation, which includes transit, walking, and biking. At the first meeting of the ARB and CTC in June 2018, we drew attention to this issue with this fact sheet. The data shows that California’s climate goals are inconsistent with its transportation spending. While California aims to get to zero emissions, it pours money into highways.This doesn’t make any sense—and is one of the reasons why transportation emissions are on the rise.

How can we change this?

The time is now: greater state leadership is needed on climate and transportation

Tomorrow, the state’s agencies tasked to address climate change and transportation funding—ARB and the California Transportation Commission (CTC)—will meet.  The meeting of these two powerful entities (for only the second time ever) provides great opportunity to align the state’s transportation dollars with the state’s climate and equity goals. Why, you ask? Because these agencies will be discussing the report (full agenda for the meeting is here).

We’re asking for leadership and action from ARB and CTC. At the December 4th meeting, ARB and CTC must commit to aligning transportation funding with climate and equity goals. And Californians deserve to know exactly:

    1. How state funding is being spent
    2. What restrictions are limiting how it can be spent
    3. The impacts of our dollars on GHG emissions, health, and equity
    4. And how the State will effectively align funding with state goals.

Due to ARB’s hard work, we have a report that makes a huge step forward for climate accountability and provides a strong foundation for meaningful action. Let’s make it count.


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