Wednesday, October 6, 2010

AB 32 regional targets

California's Climate Change Scoping Plan requires a 5 MMT reduction from land use changes. The specific target is subject to revision based on the setting of regional targets. These are ostensibly GHG reduction goals that metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) must meet through changing policies to promote compact development, increasing transit use, etc.

However, the committee established to advise CARB on target setting has chosen to suggest a per capita emissions metric to be used for targets. Their justification for this metric is dubious at best.
In addition, this form of metric has the advantage of directly addressing growth rate differences between MPO regions. Addressing growth rate differences between the MPO regions is important given that growth rates are expected to affect the magnitude of change that any given region can achieve with land use and transportation strategies. The relative characteristic of the metric ensures that both fast and slow growth regions take reasonable advantage of any established transit systems and infill opportunity sites to reduce their average regional greenhouse gas emissions. [Emphasis added, RTAC report p. 24]
Isn't this just saying that growing regions (with growing absolute GHG emissions and VMT) should be able to feel good about measures that they're taking even though they won't actually be making absolute progress towards the Scoping Plan's mandated target? With growing populations, per capita emissions have to drop quite a bit for there to be anything like an absolute reduction. How does this jive with the Scoping Plan's goals? Were they updated to reflect per capita targets?

[Update to come as I figure things out.]

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