SAN FRANCISCO (June 25, 2009) –The most authoritative report providing a blueprint for how communities can tackle global warming was released today by the California League of Conservation Voters Education Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The report is a guide to California’s Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act, or SB 375, the nation’s first legislation to link transportation and land use planning with global warming.
The report Communities Tackle Global Warming: A Guide to California’s SB 375, highlights that locating homes closer to jobs and transportation choices creates walkable communities and can improve quality of life, reduce commute times and cut millions of tons of global warming pollution. It also features a photo simulation of how communities could come alive after mixed-use development and improved street design bring pedestrian activity into the area.
As the U.S. Congress plans to tackle federal climate change and transportation legislation in the coming months, California’s implementation of this landmark legislation will be a model for how to build cleaner, healthier and more prosperous communities nationwide.
Following is a statement by Ann Notthoff, NRDC California Advocacy Director:
“The transportation land use link is a key piece of the puzzle to reduce global warming pollution. California’s SB 375 is not only a blueprint for communities to reduce global warming pollution, but also the nation’s first road map to curb global warming while curbing urban sprawl. We can give people a choice to get out of their cars once in a while, take a big bite out of our global warming pollution and save drivers money too.”
Following is a statement by Tom Adams, CLCV Chair of the Board:
“It is notable that the current economic crisis hit far-flung sprawl communities in California first and hardest. SB 375 provides a new planning paradigm, putting California on the path to a new, more sustainable prosperity as well as a cleaner environment. Realizing the promise of this law through successful implementation and incentives will once again make California a model for reducing global warming pollution throughout the nation.”
California made history in 2008 by passing the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act (SB 375), authored by State Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg and cosponsored by CLCV and NRDC. By enacting SB 375, California became the first state in the country to link greenhouse gas emissions, transportation funding, land use planning, and housing policy.
At the current rate and patterns of development, the total number of miles driven by Californians is projected to increase by 60 percent in the next 20 years according to Caltrans. Since cars and light trucks emit about 30 percent of California’s global warming pollution, getting a handle on their emissions is essential to reducing heat-trapping pollution to 1990 levels by 2020, as required by the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32).
SB 375 will encourage more compact new development and transportation alternatives by offering local governments transportation funding. It requires the California Air Resources Board to set vehicle emission reduction targets for each region of the state. Regional agencies would use their existing regional transportation planning process to develop their own strategies to achieve the targets. State transportation funding would be offered to local governments to implement the blueprint plans to achieve the targets.