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Community Planning and Climate Change Al Herson, JD, FAICP Principal, SWCA Environmental Consultants UCLA Land Use Law and Policy Conference, January 25,

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Presentation on theme: "Community Planning and Climate Change Al Herson, JD, FAICP Principal, SWCA Environmental Consultants UCLA Land Use Law and Policy Conference, January 25,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Community Planning and Climate Change Al Herson, JD, FAICP Principal, SWCA Environmental Consultants UCLA Land Use Law and Policy Conference, January 25, 2008

2 2 The Planning and Climate Change Connection California generates 2% of world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions Transportation and electricity account for over 60% of the state’s GHG emissions Community planning can play major role in reducing these emissions Climate change has energized and is sweeping the planning profession Provides substantial new momentum for smart growth policies

3 3 Presentation Outline Today’s policy framework Land use and transportation strategies Planning policy initiatives Recommendations


5 5 Policy Framework

6 6 Executive Order S-03-05 Goal: reduce GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 Creates Climate Action Team to develop GHG reduction strategies, issue biennial reports to Governor

7 7 AB 32 Goal: reduce GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 ARB implementation October 2007: early actions to be implemented by 2010 January 2008: emissions reporting regulations January 2009: scoping plan January 2011: comprehensive regulations adopted January 2012: comprehensive regulations implemented

8 8 AB 32 and Planning Planning strategies only briefly mentioned in 2006 CAT report Planning strategies not included in early actions Planning strategies currently being considered in scoping report process CEC issued influential land use report in 2007 Environmental groups submitted to ARB strategies including land use, smart growth, transportation, and low impact development Strategies to be developed by “LUSCAT” (Land Use Subgroup of Climate Action team)

9 9 CEQA and Climate Change SB 97: by January 2010, Resources Agency must adopt guidelines on analyzing and mitigating climate change impacts. Implications: Legislature intends CEQA documents to address climate change Legislature did not intend AB 32 to preempt CEQA from addressing climate change

10 10 CEQA and Climate Change (cont’d) In the interim: CEQA approaches uncertain CAPCOA and AEP white papers offer optional approaches Attorney General as CEQA enforcer continues to comment on land use and transportation plan EIRs Center for Biological Diversity commenting and filing CEQA lawsuits, e.g., cities of Banning and Perris

11 11 Local Initiatives Climate change best addressed upfront in regional and local plans, rather than project- specific mitigation Many California communities have or are adopting GHG reduction initiatives Marin County General Plan a model AG/San Bernardino CEQA lawsuit settlement requires general plan to include GHG emissions reduction strategy

12 12 Land Use and Transportation Strategies


14 14 Smart Growth Generally includes: Compact urban form More mixed use development Higher density housing Transit/pedestrian oriented development Open space preservation

15 15 Smart Growth (cont’d) ULI “Growing Cooler” report Reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT) essential part of transportation sector GHG emissions reduction Smart growth can reduce VMT 20%-40% compared to conventional development How? Fewer and shorter automobile trips Smart growth can reduce transportation GHG emissions 7-10% compared to current trends

16 16 Green Building Green building regulations: emphasize energy conservation, water conservation, and alternative energy sources Aka “low impact development” LEED standards for buildings used widely LEED ND (Neighborhood Development) certification program in pilot stage LEED ND integrates smart growth and green building Cities such as Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and San Francisco have adopted green building regulations

17 17 Other Ingredients in Local Climate Action Plans Measures to increase transit use Reduced GHG emissions from municipal facilities, buildings and fleets Green purchasing policies Waste reduction and recycling Measures to adapt to climate change

18 18 Planning Policy Initiatives

19 19 Local Government Initiatives U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement Goal: meet Kyoto Protocol target of reducing GHG emissions to 7% below 1990 levels by 2012 Signed by 710 mayors, over 90 in California

20 20 Local Government Initiatives (cont’d) Cool Counties Commits counties to reduce GHG emissions 80% by 2050 Seven California counties have joined California Climate Action Network Local government forum for information sharing and collaboration

21 21 ICLEI Local government membership: over 1000, including 60 in California Cities for Climate Protection Program: performance based framework for reducing GHG emissions Climate Resilient Communities Program: tools to protect communities fro impacts and costs of climate change

22 22 Energy Commission Land Use Report Regional transportation and air quality agencies prepare long-term regional growth plans that reduce GHG emissions to state targets State adopts growth management strategy built from required regional plans State planning, infrastructure, and regulation aligned Add GHG emissions reduction and energy conservation to AB 857 goals

23 23 Energy Commission Land Use Report (cont’d) Other recommendations address technical and financial assistance, changes in tax policies

24 24 California Chapter APA Climate Change Response Policies Planning: similar to CEC report, but more voluntary and incentive based CEQA: state should define acceptable methodologies and provide streamlining for small projects and LEED-certified projects

25 25 California Chapter APA Climate Change Response Policies (cont’d) Adaptation State should provide projections of climate change impacts Regional and local plans should include adaptation policies Climate change impacts include: sea level rise, coastal storms and erosion, flooding, levee stress, wildfire risks, reduced water supplies


27 27 SB 375 of 2007 (Steinberg) Basic elements: ARB sets regional GHG emissions targets Regional transportation agencies develop preferred growth scenarios to meet targets Author’s intent: extensions of regional “blueprint” plans Caltrans is already funding Future state-funded transportation projects to be consistent with regional plan CEQA streamlining incentives if local general plans consistent with preferred growth scenario

28 28 SB 375 (cont’d) Criticisms Complicates established transportation planning/funding Erodes local land use control Reduces affordable housing Creates unfunded state mandates Regional planning agencies differ in planning capacity and local government relationships

29 29 Conclusions

30 30 Why Changes in Community Planning are Needed Changed planning strategies implemented today can make a big difference in GHG emissions Land use policies can also play key role in adapting to climate change, e.g., coastal and floodplain development California can serve as role model for other growing states and nations

31 31 Why Changes in Community Planning are Needed (cont’d) Smart growth strategies provide benefits in addition to GHG reduction E.g., open space preservation, reduced infrastructure costs, reduced fossil fuel dependence, improved public health

32 32 The Three Core Strategies Revamped “blueprint” regional growth and transportation plans to reduce GHG emissions State infrastructure funding consistent with new regional plans Financial and regulatory streamlining incentives for local plans and projects consistent with new regional plans

33 33 The Three Core Strategies (cont’d) What’s needed to implement strategies? State capacity-building, funding, and technical assistance Public and private sector engagement Local government support

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