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Local Government Commission

Currents - A Quarterly Energy Newsletter For Local Governments

Winter 2012

Evaluating Greenhouse Gas Emissions as Part of California's Environmental Review Process: A Local Official's Guide

In September, the Institute for Local Government released its CEQA guide for local elected officials that deals with greenhouse gas emissions. The guide explains how to analyze the greenhouse gas emissions from a project and adopt mitigation measures as of the part environmental analyses that state and local agencies prepare under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Following adoption of an executive order by the Governor in 2005 and enactment of legislation setting near- and long-term goals for reducing statewide greenhouse gas emissions, the California Resources Agency and the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research amended the CEQA Guidelines to include guidance about how to analyze and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions as part of the CEQA process.

This guide, “Evaluating Greenhouse Gas Emissions as part of California’s Environmental Review Process” provides information for the busy local official audience and others seeking a plain language explanation of requirements to analyze greenhouse gas emissions as part of CEQA. It includes endnotes for those who want more detailed information or references to the law.

A key goal of the Institute is to translate complex and technical concepts into understandable terms. The law can and does change over time. Officials are encouraged to consult with staff and other technical experts for up-to-date information and guidance on how the concepts in this guide apply in specific situations.

The guide specifically covers:

  • Analyzing the greenhouse gas impacts of a project.
  • Identifying measures to mitigate the impacts of a project on the environment by reducing the project’s greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Streamlining the CEQA analysis using an appropriate plan that mitigates greenhouse gas emissions on a programmatic level.

The guide also includes three appendices that provide:

  • An overview to understand CEQA.
  • The text of key sections of the CEQA Guidelines that address greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
  • Resources to learn more.

Download the Guide at: