Climate: Stronger Targets, Wider Scope
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% below 1990 levels by 2030.
As shown in the graph below, from a report by the California Air Resources Board, even with zero-emission vehicles becoming 50% of vehicles sold, and 50% of energy production coming from renewable sources in the next 20 years, California will still have to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) — that is, how much Californians drive.
To reduce VMT enough to meet state climate goals by 2030, every Californian needs to drive just 1.6 fewer miles every day.
That is a remarkably manageable goal. We just have to make it easier to drive less.
SB 375 Regional Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Targets
Key tools in reducing VMT — by making it easier to drive less — are the regional transportation and land use plans called Sustainable Communities Strategies. These plans guide transportation investments and policies. As required by the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act, or SB 375, metropolitan regions in California must create these plans, and each plan must meet a certain GHG reduction target.
These targets were recently updated in a long process in which ClimatePlan and partners advocated strongly for greater GHG reductions.
In February 2018, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) released the final updated targets for each region’s GHG reductions.
As shown in the graph above, the updated regional targets will together achieve a 19% reduction in statewide per-capita GHG. That's a 1% change from the current targets.
Not exactly ambitious.
In ARB’s report, an analysis of potential land use and transportation strategies shows that regions could achieve a reduction of up to 5% in GHG emissions beyond the updated targets.
The impacts of climate change are already being felt throughout the state. We need ambitious, not incremental, action. Regions can and should do much more.