ARB: California not tracking to meet required GHG reductions due to transportation; significant changes in communities and systems required
California is not on track to meet the greenhouse gas reductions expected under SB 375 for 2020, with emissions from statewide passenger vehicle travel per capita increasing and going in the wrong direction, according to a new report published by the California Air Resources Board (ARB).
While overall, California has hit its 2020 climate target ahead of schedule due to strong performance in the energy sector, meeting future targets will require a greater contribution from the transportation sector. With emissions from the transportation sector continuing to rise despite increases in fuel efficiency and decreases in the carbon content of fuel, California will not achieve the necessary greenhouse gas emissions reductions to meet mandates for 2030 and beyond without significant changes to how communities and transportation systems are planned, funded, and built.—“2018 Progress Report”
The Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008, Senate Bill (SB) 375, was passed into law in 2008. SB 375 recognizes the critical role of integrated transportation, land use, and housing decisions to meet state climate goals. The law requires each of California’s 18 regional Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to include a new element in their long-range regional transportation plans: a Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS).
In the SCS, the MPO, in partnership with their local member agencies and the State, identifies strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from driving. Under SB 375, MPOs have spent almost 10 years engaged in planning and developing SCSs tailored to each region that outline multiple benefits for public health, the environment, social justice, and access to opportunities, if implemented.
in 2017, the Legislature tasked the California Air Resources Board (CARB) with issuing a report every four years analyzing the progress made under SB 375 pursuant to SB 150. SB 150 tasks CARB with preparing a report that assesses progress made toward meeting the regional SB 375 greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, and to include data-supported metrics for strategies utilized to meet the targets.
The just-released report is the first in the series that responds to that legislation—and includes the fundamental finding that California is not on track to meet greenhouse gas reductions expected under SB 375.
With emissions from the transportation sector continuing to rise despite increases in fuel efficiency and decreases in the carbon content of fuel, California will not achieve the necessary greenhouse gas emissions reductions to meet mandates for 2030 and beyond without significant changes to how communities and transportation systems are planned, funded, and built, the ARB report states.
Specifically, CARB’s 2030 Scoping Plan Update identifies reduction in growth of single-occupancy vehicle travel as necessary to achieve the statewide target of 40% below 1990 level emissions by 2030. Even more will be needed to achieve Governor Brown’s new carbon neutrality goal by 2045.
California—at the state, regional, and local levels—has not yet gone far enough in making the systemic and structural changes to how we build and invest in communities that are needed to meet state climate goals. To meet the potential of SB 375 will require state, regional, and local agency staff and elected officials to make more significant changes across multiple systems that address the interconnected relationship of land use, housing, economic and workforce development, transportation investments, and travel choices.
… many challenges continue to impede the changes that will be needed to meet the targets. For example, the portion of commuters driving alone to work instead of carpooling, taking transit, walking or cycling is rising in almost every region. The supply of housing in many regions is a small fraction of the need, particularly homes affordable to low-income communities, which is contributing to lengthening commutes. The overall ratio of dollars planned to be spent on roads versus on infrastructure for other modes in the largest regions of California has shown remarkably little shift. The changes that have been made so far are clearly not of the magnitude necessary to have yet had a significant impact on these challenges.—“2018 Progress Report”
The report identifies eight priority challenge and opportunity areas for the State Mobility Action Plan for Healthy Communities (MAP for Healthy Communities) work to address this challenge.
Improve the way the State targets transportation, housing, and climate-incentive funds to better align projects with state health, equity, economic, and environmental priorities.
Improve incentives and legal certainty for projects that provide affordable housing choices near jobs, transit, and other high-opportunity locations.
Develop a state vision for increasing travel choices, economic development, and access to jobs and other opportunities, as well as affordable housing for under-served communities—and by doing so, accelerate progress toward state climate, infill, health, and equity benefits.
Pilot test innovative ideas to speed the adoption of clean, efficient transportation solutions across the state.
Develop fiscally-sustainable and equitable methods of funding the transportation system, in ways that increase climate-friendly travel choices for everyone.
Complement deployment of new mobility options and technologies with policies supporting state environmental and equity priorities.
Improve and increase access to data to assist with planning and monitoring success of state policies in meeting transportation, housing, health, and environmental goals.
Update and strengthen SB 375 to better connect state climate, transportation, health, equity, and conservation goals with regional and local planning, and to improve implementation.