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The California Air Resources Board Adopts Far-Reaching Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Targets Designed To Achieve More Livable, Sustainable Communities

On September 23, 2010, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted targets throughout the State for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles (including automobiles and light trucks). The targets vary by region. In the Greater Los Angeles area, comprising approximately 18 million people, CARB set reduction targets of 8% by 2020 and 13% by 2035. This despite the September 2 vote of the regional council of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) urging CARB to require more modest targets of 6% by 2020 and 8% by 2035.

The adoption of targets is a major milestone for the implementation of SB 375, the landmark regional planning bill signed into law in September 2008. The targets include forecasts and computer modeling that reflect a wide range of strategies, including shifts toward multi-unit housing closer to a city’s center, increasing the number of workers who telecommute and carpool, adding carpool lanes, or increasing public transit ridership.

However, this divergence between two key planning agencies – CARB and SCAG – may foreshadow growing difficulties in reconciling an ambitious, long-term clean air goal versus avoidance of disruption of economic growth in our area. Although SCAG pledged last week to work with CARB on its greenhouse gas reductions. Time will tell whether the goal of reduced urban sprawl and a more livable California can actually be achieved.

Categories: Climate Change