It's possible to reduce greenhouse gas reductions in Southern California 7-9% per capita by 2020 with a mid-range growth scenario that "achievable and ambitious," Hasan Ikhrata, executive director of the Southern California Association of Governments, said Thursday.

In a long-awaited presentation to the SCAG General Assembly in La Quinta, Ikhrata said SCAG would convey the estimate to the California Air Resources Board, which is scheduled to provide SCAG and other regions with a per-capita GHG target in June under the terms of SB 375.

Ikhrata's presentation was clearly an effort to influence the ARB's draft target. Elected officials in the SCAG region and elsewhere have expressed concern that ARB will establish a target that is beyond the reach of communities to hit. "Before ARB gives us a target we want to tell them what we can do," Ikhrata said. 

Achieving the target would probably not reduce overall GHG emissions because the per-capita savings would be more than offset by population growth.

Ikhrata also announced that SCAG will expand the Compass/Blueprint demonstration grant program from $1.2 million to $5 million in the 2011-12 fiscal year and will also launch a $2 million annual green incentive competition for its members as well. the Compass/Blueprint program provides consulting services to local governments in the SCAG region to craft smart-growth-oriented plans.

SCAG developed five growth scenarios examining buildout in 2020 and 2035. He said the scenarios included assumptions not only about land use but also about six other topics -- transportation, public transit, nonmotorized transportation, transportation demand management, transportation system management, and pricing. He said the range of savings from the scenarios ranged from 6% to 10% in 2020 and 3% to 12% in 2035, depending on how aggressive the scenarios were. He did not provide specifics about the scenarios themselves.

-- Bill Fulton