Op-Ed: Slow Growth Fails the Paris Accords Too

Many local leaders spoke strongly against President Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accords, but local land use and transportation policies still sorely lack any consideration of climate impact.
June 5, 2017, 8am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Thomas Barrat

Juan Matute writes of the example set by the liberal enclave of Santa Monica, California in the effort to limit carbon emissions. Matute's verdict: that the city of Santa Monica, like the United States, is backing off commitments to address climate change.

First, Matute notes Santa Monica's tradition of environmental planning, and its ostensible commitment to the cause of limiting carbon emissions:

Santa Monica has a long-standing Sustainable City Plan and a Sustainability Bill of Rights (which enumerates a resident’s right to a sustainable climate). It would seem that a city like Santa Monica would make every effort to consider the impacts of its major decisions on our planet’s future climate.

But the city has recently released a new downtown plan "that ignores its impact on climate change," writes Matute. Instead of planning for new growth around the city's transit lines, Matute says the plan makes a few token mentions of the city's carbon footprint, and a few sentences devoted to the California's SB 32, passed last year, which mandates a 40 percent reduction in statewide GHG emissions.

Matute recommends the use of the Integrated Transportation and Land Use Consequential Life-Cycle Assessment method to model emissions resulting from planning decisions. It will be up to planning agencies at the local level to decide to consider and address those kinds of models. To be fair—Santa Monica is not the only liberal-leaning city that hasn't.

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Published on Thursday, June 1, 2017 in Santa Monica Next
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