Dr. Stephen M. Wheeler, Assistant Professor, Landscape Architecture Program, Department of Environmental Design, UC Davis
The need to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has emerged as one of the new century’s top planning challenges. As of 2008 28 U.S. states had adopted some sort of climate change action plan, and more than 170 local governments had joined the Cities for Climate Protection campaign, requiring preparation of a municipal plan. This presentation reviews this first generation of plans, based on analysis of documents and phone interviews with officials. In the area of transportation, many plans seek to green state or municipal fleets or promote use of alternative fuels. But few initiatives tackle more fundamental factors that determine transportation emissions, such as land use planning, pricing of motor vehicle use, or availability of alternative modes of travel. Although officials believe that public concern has grown substantially in the last couple of years, the goals and policies in this generation of plans do not appear adequate to meet the challenge.