Publication Detail

Brief: How Much Do Local Climate Action Plans in California Consider Emissions, Cost, and Equity?



National Center for Sustainable Transportation

Suggested Citation:
Lozano, Mark, Alissa Kendall, Gwen Arnold, John T. Harvey, Ali A. Butt (2022) Brief: How Much Do Local Climate Action Plans in California Consider Emissions, Cost, and Equity?. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Brief UCD-ITS-RR-22-34

Spurred in part by state-level climate policies, California cities and counties have released climate action plans (CAPs) over the last decade to set emissions reduction targets and outline actions that will help meet those goals. However, the state provides little guidance to jurisdictions on how to produce these plans. The range of information included in CAPs varies dramatically across jurisdictions. Additionally, little is known about how jurisdictions transition from the planning to the implementation phase of climate action, or what major factors influence their decision-making process. Other state laws promote emissions reductions in disadvantaged communities, highlighting the importance of making equity a key consideration in CAPs.
Researchers at the University of California, Davis assessed and scored over 30 CAPs released between 2009 and 2020 based on the degree to which they addressed three themes: emissions reductions, cost, and equity. The researchers also surveyed local agency staff from 25 California jurisdictions with published CAPs about the importance of different factors during climate action planning and implementation, the inclusion of equity impacts in CAPs, sources of funding, and more. Finally, the researchers developed a set of guiding questions to assist jurisdictions in developing CAPs that include equity considerations both broadly and by specific sector. This policy brief summarizes the findings from that research and provides policy implications.

Key words: emissions, modeling, equity, local government