SCAG is addressing the climate change challenge through implementation of recent State legislation. In 2006, Assembly Bill No. 32 (AB 32), the California Global Warming Solutions Act, passed into law requiring that statewide GHG emissions be reduced to 1990 levels by 2020. This would represent reducing about 30 percent from business-as-usual emission levels projected for 2020. On December 11, 2008, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) adopted a comprehensive Scoping Plan outlining the state’s strategy to achieve the 2020 GHG emission reduction target.
The 2016-2040 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy, adopted by SCAG in 2016, had anticipated a significant amount of new housing, population and employment growth to occur in High Quality Transit Areas (HQTAs). HQTAs, which feature frequent transit service or major transit stations, are located in communities throughout the SCAG region.
In 2012, the Southern California Association of Governments led a collaborative process to prepare Southern California for the anticipated influx of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) in the region, which could be as high as 700,000 by 2022 according to SCAG research. PEVs will reduce air pollution, decrease our dependency on foreign oil and attract green businesses to Southern California.
Open Space & The Quality of Life
The concept of sustainability includes “Improving the quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems.” As our region grows and urbanizes, we are modifying the natural world and diminishing the availability of resources for future generations. While we continue to improve our quality of life, we must also create a sustainable framework for the future.
Buildings & Green House Gas Emissions
Greenhouse gas emissions from buildings are substantial. New buildings can be constructed using passive solar building design, low- or zero-energy building techniques, using renewable heat sources. Existing buildings can be made more efficient through the use of insulation, high-efficiency appliances (particularly hot water heaters and furnaces), double- or triple-glazed windows, external window shades, and building orientation and siting.
Clean, stable and sustainable sources of energy for Southern California are critical to supporting a healthy and resilient region. In developing future plans, SCAG must fully weigh and consider energy supply, efficiency, consumption and environmental impacts, such as greenhouse gas emissions.
Additional water resources will be needed to meet the growing population and economy of the SCAG region. Sufficient water supplies are needed to meet these future water demands. In addition water quality and watershed management needs to be addressed.
Water supplies in the SCAG region come from a blend of local and imported sources. Water conservation, or efficiency, involves technological and behavioral changes that lower the demand for water.
Solid waste reduction and recycling help address global climate change. The manufacture, distribution and use of products – as well as management of the resulting waste – all result in greenhouse gas emissions. Waste prevention and recycling reduce greenhouse gases associated with these activities by reducing methane emissions, saving energy, and increasing forest carbon sequestration.
For more than ten years, SCAG’s Sustainability Awards has recognized exemplary work by highlighting excellence in sustainable planning and projects in the SCAG Region. These plans and projects are integral to carrying out the goals and policies of Connect SoCal and promote a healthier and more resilient Southern California. Each year, SCAG honors projects that best exemplify the core principles of sustainability with awards.