June 4, 2009, by
SB 375 requires that the California Air Resource Board (CARB) set regional greenhouse gas targets by September 30, 2010. Currently, CARB’s target is a five million metric tons reduction for transportation related planning programs, but this is subject to change. CARB created the Regional Targets Advisory Committee (RTAC), which is currently considering methodologies and factors that should be taken into account when setting CARB's greenhouse gas emission targets. The RTAC has held seven meetings since February. In its previous meetings, the RTAC focused on whether greenhouse gas emission targets should be set regionally or per capita and how the targets will account for inter-regional travel. Today, the RTAC meeting focused on regional data regarding factors that affect regional greenhouse gas emissions (such as distance between jobs and residential development and the percent increase in developed land).
The fact that RTAC is slowly moving through the long target setting process means that cities and counties will need to use their best judgment in regulating greenhouse gas emissions in the interim. Although SB 375 does not trump local land use laws, it is still an important law for localities to follow because it links regional plans to transportation funding and housing elements. Cities should stay tuned to the RTAC's final conclusions, especially those localities amending their general plans in the upcoming couple of years. Until RTAC issues its conclusions, certain greenhouse gas emissions regulations, such as the inventorying of greenhouse gases, are certain; others, such as “feasible mitigation measures,” remain somewhat ambiguous.
For handouts and agendas for each of the RTAC’s meetings, click here.