Climate-Conscious CEQA Guidelines Effective This Week

Thursday, new state guidelines to address global warming in the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) became effective. The move caps more than two years of preparation, initiated by the passage of SB 97 in 2007.

The new guidelines make it clear that the heat trapping gasses that cause global warming must be thoroughly addressed in the environmental review process. They also begin to grapple with the challenges posed by an increasingly warmer world, emphasizing the need to assess potential impacts of locating development in areas susceptible to hazardous conditions.

The guidelines and the accompanying Statement of Reasons should provide additional impetus for local, regional, and state decisionmakers to minimize the environmental impacts of new projects to help California meet its climate goals. We hope the next round of guideline amendments delves even deeper into the subject, assisting decisionmakers and the public in choosing the most effective approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and integrating anticipated climate impacts such as sea level rise and wildfire risk into the planning process.