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Emissions Target Committee Releases Draft Report

Aug 31, 2009
The committee advising the Air Resources Board on how to establish regional greenhouse gas emissions-reduction targets related to land use released a draft of its final report today.

The Regional Targets Advisory Committee is scheduled to spend all day Tuesday, September 1, working over the report. The agenda for that meeting, the draft report and numerous other background documents are available on the ARB website.

The 45-page draft report is a bit difficult to follow in places, especially if you have not been tracking every move of the committee. Still, there is a great deal of meat in this report.

Right up front in recommendations for the air board is this: "The most immediate need is the development of a list of best management practices, or BMPs. We recommend ARB initiate an interagency agreement with the University of California to produce this within the next 4-6 months. The BMP list will assist local and regional governments in evaluating which policies to implement and help inform ARB in the target-setting process."

To be clear, these BMPs would be policies and tools intended to reduce the amount that people drive. The committee is recommending use of a BMP menu because questions and skepticism remain over greenhouse gas emissions models and regional modeling capabilities. In the largest metro areas, modeling capabilities are more reliable and could be used in combination with BMPs to set emissions reductions targets, according to the report. In smaller regions with less sophisticated modeling, ARB may need to rely heavily on the BMP list.

The implications of heavy reliance on BMPs is only starting to come into focus. But I'll point out that the smaller regions without great modeling are also among the least likely to have already implemented obvious BMPs such as compact, mixed-use development patterns and providing easy access to alternative transportation.

The committee is supposed to finalize its report by the end of September.

- Paul Shigley