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About Us

The ClimatePlan partnership works to improve land use and transportation planning to protect Californians’ health, communities, environment, and climate.

The coalition was formed in 2007 by 11 non-profits; it now includes more than 50.

Our partners represent a broad range of interests, from public health experts to farmland preservationists — but we are all dedicated to smart planning and a sustainable future.


Our Mission

ClimatePlan’s mission is to advance policies and programs to address the relationship between land use policy and climate change, and leverage the resources and partnerships necessary to realize more sustainable and equitable development throughout California.

Our Vision

We envision a healthier and more vital California that supports sustainable and equitable communities, preserves iconic landscapes, and significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

How We Began

In response to the need for coordinated action on AB 32 — California’s ground-breaking climate law — eleven environmental and planning non-profit groups came together as ClimatePlan in early 2007. Their goal was to make clear that to achieve AB 32’s targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the state needed to explicitly address land use and transportation.

ClimatePlan’s first goal was to get AB 32 implementation to address land use in a meaningful way. The draft AB 32 Scoping Plan was very weak on land use, with a target of just 2 million metric tons (2 MMT) of greenhouse gas reductions by 2020. In response, ClimatePlan commissioned a national expert, Reid Ewing, to more accurately estimate the reductions possible from smart growth. His analysis demonstrated that a target of 11-14 MMT was achievable and advisable. ClimatePlan called for this much higher target, and dozens of organizations endorsed our position. Thanks in part to ClimatePlan’s organizing, land use became one of the most high-profile components of the AB 32 Scoping Plan process.

In September 2008, Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 375 to do what we’d asked: make clear California must use land use to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. SB 375 requires every region in the state to have a target for these reductions. The state Air Resources Board committed to adopting “the most ambitious, achievable” targets, and these were adopted in 2010.

Our work since has focused on improving the plans, called Sustainable Communities Strategies, to meet these regional targets. We are also working to make the targets stronger, and to improve state legislation and agency policy to help meet the goals set in AB 32 and SB 375.

The challenge continues to be to get SB 375 successfully implemented – and to expand on it to meet new challenges.

Getting started

Our founding members were American Farmland Trust, California Center for Regional Leadership, California League of Conservation Voters, Center for Clean Air Policy, Greenbelt Alliance, the Local Government Commission, Natural Resources Defense Council, Pacific Forest Trust, Planning and Conservation League, Sierra Club, and the Transportation and Land Use Coalition (now TransForm). The fiscal sponsor of ClimatePlan is TransForm. A small seed grant from the San Francisco Foundation got the network started.

Guiding Principles

Advance Pragmatic Policy Solutions: Policy solutions should be both visionary and pragmatic, advancing innovative ideas and best practices, while being grounded in the reality of existing trends.

Find Common Ground: Focusing on shared priorities and areas of common ground is the best way to achieve our goals. We are committed to bringing together diverse stakeholders around policy solutions that will help all our partners advance their goals.

Build a Long-Lasting Movement: All communities and regions should have informed, engaged organizations that are working to monitor and shape growth over the long term. We work to build enduring capacity among local smart growth advocates.

Promote Policies that Protect and Improve Public Health: We advocate for policies that promote walking, bicycling, and reduced driving, resulting in more active lifestyles, better air quality, and safer streets.

Advance Solutions that Increase Social Equity and Environmental Justice: All communities, particularly low-income communities, must have the opportunity to benefit from growth. We advance policies that address mobility, jobs, and affordability, and protect existing residents and local businesses from displacement.

Protect Areas Where Growth Should Not Occur: Forests, agricultural areas, important watershed areas, and wildlife habitat should be protected from development. We promote policy tools that quantify the GHG benefits of preserving these areas and create incentives for preservation.

Increase Community Participation in Planning: Planning at both the local and regional levels is more effective when there is meaningful community participation throughout the process. In particular, under-represented communities need to be engaged in long-term planning.

Help Local Governments Move Ahead: Cities, counties and MPOs need financial support to plan and implement VMT reduction strategies. We are committed to establishing, restoring, and expanding funding for these efforts.

Amplify Synergies: We strive connect smart growth campaigns to add value to the work of organizations at all levels, from the neighborhood to the national.



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