Experience > Climate Change
AB 32 Cap-and-Trade Regulation Functionally Equivalent CEQA Document
California Air Resources Board
Role: Prime Consultant, CEQA Document Preparation
Ascent is assisting the California Air Resources Board (ARB) with the preparation of a Functionally Equivalent Document (FED) under ARB’s California Environmental Quality Act’s (CEQA) certified regulatory program for the Cap-and-Trade Program and the Offsets Quantification Methods Regulation. This regulation is a cornerstone of California’s implementation of AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. The FED examines the potential environmental impacts related to reasonably foreseeable compliance approaches by covered (i.e., regulated) entities, such as effects of changed industrial processes or combustion fuel switches. Key issues include co-pollutants and environmental justice. The Cap-and-Trade Regulation establishes the framework for setting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions limits for the covered entities, allocating allowances for emitting GHGs within the limits, and trading allowances for covered entities that need to acquire them to comply with their limit or who may sell them if their emissions are below the regulated limit. The Offset Quantification Methods establish consistent procedures for calculating and managing GHG credits from four programs: Forests, Urban Forests, Livestock Manure Digesters, and Ozone Depleting Substances. The FED addresses the reasonably foreseeable environmental impacts resulting from projects intended to provide GHG offset credits pursuant to the regulation. Key issues include sustainable forest practices and by-products of manure digestion or ODS destruction.
Bay Area Air Quality Management District CEQA Guidelines and GHG Thresholds
Bay Area Air Quality Management District
Role: Project Manager
BAAQMD recently developed updated thresholds of significance and associated guidelines for assessing air quality impacts (including GHGs) under CEQA. This effort included new approaches and information with respect to construction- and operational-related emissions of criteria air pollutants, toxic air contaminants, and odors. In addition, this work entailed the development of numerical thresholds for both plan- and project-level GHG emissions, which were substantiated in the evidence presented and supported by the California Attorney General’s office. These thresholds are the first of their kind and lead the way by providing the methodology for agencies not only in California, but across the country to develop geographic specific limitations on GHGs in response of legislative mandates. This work was adopted by the Board on June 2, 2010.
Yolo County Climate Action Plan (CAP), Yolo County, CA
County of Yolo
Role: GHG Inventory, GHG Reduction Strategies, CEQA Threshold
Ascent is assisting the County of Yolo in the preparation of a county-wide Climate Action Plan for the unincorporated territory. The plan includes preparation of historic and current GHG inventories and future projections for 2020, 2030, and 2050. GHG reduction measures for the County will include special attention to the agricultural sector, which comprises 40 percent of the County’s emissions. The project also involves development of a web-accessible carbon calculator and determination of an evidence-supported significance threshold for CEQA compliance by projects in the County. Ascent is supporting the GHG inventory task, development of GHG reduction strategy, and the CEQA significance threshold definition.
San Joaquin County General Plan Update (Climate Change Background Report and Emissions Inventory), San Joaquin County, CA
San Joaquin County
Role: GHG Inventory and Analysis
As part of County’s update to their General Plan, a climate change background report was prepared that included a comprehensive emissions inventory for existing conditions. The section summarizes existing (2007) and 1990 GHG emissions data and sources for California and the San Joaquin County. The County’s GHG emissions inventory only included GHG’s associated with activities (e.g., energy consumption, vehicle travel, agriculture) occurring in the unincorporated areas of the County. In the case of inventory development, GHG emissions associated with energy, transportation, waste (i.e., solid waste and wastewater), and agriculture were modeled using the Local Governments for Sustainability (founded as the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives [ICLEI]), Clean Air and Climate Protection (CACP) software, and calculation methodologies provided by ARB and IPCC. The objective of this work was to reveal major findings to assist with development of policies during the general plan update process. The overall General Plan project is still in progress.