Land Use and Environmental Planning in the Era of Climate Change

The implications of global warming and climate change on land use planning and compliance with CEQA are evolving and becoming more important each year in California.

From controlling greenhouse gases and reducing carbon footprint to coastal erosion and pressures on the state's levee system, global warming can substantially influence the development of a community's general plan and the preparation of MNDs and EIRs for CEQA compliance. Invariably, some of the approaches to address the climate change concerns raised in CEQA documents are linked to a community's long-term plans and ways to implement those plans. 

There are still uncertainties about what the future holds. What does this mean for land use planning and CEQA review in California? How do you make the best planning decisions in light of the predictions and uncertainties of a changing climate? How are cities and counties responding in their general plans and planning implementation programs? What is truly required under CEQA? What guidance is coming from the courts? How does CEQA play into environmental decision-making about climate change issues?

Discuss the implications of our evolving understanding of climate change and its practical effects on land use planning and CEQA compliance in California. Topics include:

  • Current understanding about climate change predictions and uncertainties in California
  • How city and county general plans and other long-term plans address climate change's potential influences on water supply, sea level rise, flooding, and ecological conditions that could affect growth and development
  • Planning implementation approaches to reduce carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions as they respond to the effects of climate change
  • Current state of CEQA approaches for addressing global warming and climate change impacts and significance determinations
  • Status of CEQA compliance guidance from the state and courts
  • Role of CEQA in advancing the dialogue about potential responses
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