Skip to Content
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Log In
Greenhouse Gas

CARB Adopts Aggressive Targets to Meet State Greenhouse Gas Laws

9:15 AM PDT on September 27, 2010

Photo: Mark Stozier via ## Streetsblog##
Photo: Mark Stozier via ## Streetsblog##

Last Thursday, the California Air Resource Board (CARB) voted unanimously to adopt ambitious targets for greenhouse gas reductions statewide by 2020 and 2035.  Thursday's vote, hours after the Metro Board of Directors voted to endorse high standards for the Southland, will compel Municipal Planning Organizations (MPO's) to create development and transportation plans that will encourage Smart Growth and discourage catering to long commutes in single occupancy automobiles.

Under California’s landmark anti-sprawl bill, SB375, the state’s 18 MPOs were required to set emissions reductions targets and Sustainable Communities Strategies (SCS) within regional transportation plans.  Los Angeles' MPO is the Southern California Association of Governments, a body that voted endorsed weaker standards a few weeks ago.  That vote, while politically telling, can and was overturned by CARB.  To be clear, Southern California's targets are an eight percent reduction by 2020 and a thirteen percent reduction at 2035 of yearly greenhouse gas emissions from the 2005 emission levels.

In a press release, ARB Board Mary Nichols explains how a state mandate to meet certain development goals can be both a carrot and a stick:

"These targets are ambitious, achievable and very good news for California communities.  Improved planning means cleaner air in our cities, less time stuck in your car, and healthier, more sustainable communities," said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "Cities that choose to develop Sustainable Communities Plans that meet these targets have an advantage when it comes to attracting the kinds of vibrant, healthy development that people want."

Opponents of higher standards were energized early in the meeting when Ken Yeager, a Board Member from the Bay Area, took on the sprawl lobby and sharply criticized the Building Industry Association's claims that setting these standards would cause gas prices to rise to $9 a gallon.  While this type of fear-mongering might work in the Inland Empire or Orange County, it fell flat in front of the CARB.

But now Southern California's political leadership is faced with a challenge.  Remember, SCAG is the largest MPO in the country and represents Los Angeles County as well as Imperial, Orange, Riverside, Ventura and San Bernadino Counties.  There's going to be a lot of negotiating to devise a plan that works for all of these areas and has a chance of meeting these goals.

That being said, a little personal responsibility could go a long way in reducing emissions.  A terrified op/ed in the San Diego Union Tribune does the math on what kind of changes people would have to make in their own transportation plans to reach San Diego's emission reduction goals.  The Union-Tribune writer calls the measures to reach a 13% personal reduction, "harsh."  Remember, achieving just one of them would allow a driver to meet their personal goal:

To achieve a 13 percent reduction in greenhouse gases, a motorist could do one of the following:

• Telecommute to work two days a month

• Carpool to work four days a month

• Bike or walk instead of driving 18 miles a week

• Take a bus instead of driving 21 miles a week.

As SCAG responds to last week's CARB meeting, we'll keep you posted.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Los Angeles

Friday Bikeways Update: Beach Bike Path Damage, 7th Street, and More

Updates on: beach bike path in Pacific Palisades, Michigan Greenway in Santa Monica, Parthenia Place in North Hills, 7th Street Streetscape in DTLA, and Imperial Highway near LAX

March 1, 2024

Measure HLA Fact Check: Sidewalk Costs

The city says $200 million worth of annual ADA work is "included in the cost" of Measure HLA, but the city is already on the hook for that ADA work anyway, so none of it should be included as HLA costs

March 1, 2024

Supervisor Hahn Calls for No Residential Demolitions in Metro’s 710 Freeway Corridor Project

"[For 710 Freeway expansion] Metro needs to commit itself to zero residential property takes. [Metro] should have as one its top priorities ensuring that our projects do not result in kicking people out of their homes."

February 29, 2024
See all posts