Greenhouse Gases a Major Concern in 36 States-New Details

Greenhouse Gases a Major Concern in 36 States-New Details-Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Thirty-six states have recognized the need to manage greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by changing land use patterns to reduce sprawl and making buildings more energy efficient, according to an exclusive survey conducted by the Partnership for Sustainable Communities (PSC), a nonprofit group based in San Rafael, Calif.

California, Oregon and Washington have taken specific legislative action to control GHG emissions by changing land use patterns and construction practices.  Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Montana and North Carolina have developed detailed policies on these issues, reflecting political will and the potential for legislation in the near term.

Twenty-seven states have produced general policy statements that acknowledge the need to address the contribution of land use and buildings to GHG emissions, according to the survey.

Only 15 states have taken no action whatsoever in regard to this issue, the survey found.

“Our survey shows that more states are moving decisively to address GHG emissions from the car trips generated by suburban sprawl and by the energy consumed by our buildings. Many more cities are acting on their own without state guidance,” said Andre Shashaty, PSC’s president.

“City planners and real estate developers face the most fundamental changes in land use policy in 50 years, changes that will affect their activities and dictate development opportunities for decades to come,” said Shashaty.

The survey showed California in the forefront of policy development in this regard, making it a potential model for other states. California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (Assembly Bill 32) requires the reduction of the state’s GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. A companion bill, Senate Bill 375, requires localities to plan for more compact, transit-oriented, “sustainable” land use patterns that encourage walking and the use of transit as opposed to private car trips.

Major oil producers, refiners and retailers gave financial support to pass a proposition on the Nov. 2 ballot to suspend the goals set forth in AB 32. The measure was defeated.

PSC is dedicated to promoting land use reform; compact, infill and transit-oriented development; and the availability of affordable housing near jobs and transit. Its information clearinghouse, including a state-by-state breakdown of the survey results, is at

The Partnership for Sustainable Communities is a 501(c)(3) organization supported by memberships and tax-deductible donations. It publishes a free newsletter covering sustainable community planning and development. Visit for more information.

SOURCE Partnership for Sustainable Communities

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