Introduction to Climate Action Plans

As part of the Truckee 2040 General Plan update, the General Plan Advisory Committee is currently working on a Climate Action Plan which will help meet Truckee’s goal to power the community with 100% renewable electricity and reduce community greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2040.

What is a Climate Action Plan?
Climate Action Plans (CAPs) are “comprehensive roadmaps that outline specific activities that a city or agency will undertake to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Climate action plans build upon the information gathered by greenhouse gas inventories and focus on activities that can achieve emission reductions in the most cost effective manner.” (Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability). The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, often referred to as AB 32, requires the state of California to reach ambitious GHG reduction targets. The GHG target is to reduce emissions to 1990 levels, which is equivalent to 10 tons of carbon dioxide per person by 2020. One tool that the state of California is using to meet these targets is through CAPs.

Are Cities and Towns in California Required to Create CAPs?
The short answer is no, but in actuality, it is a little more complicated than that. Legislation like AB 32 and SB 375, which directs the California Air Resources Board to set regional GHG emissions targets, ensures that cities and counties are involved with emission reduction. While CAPs are not a required part of a General Plan update, they are one way to meet the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirement. The Office of Planning and Research and the State Attorney General’s office have both agreed and enforced that jurisdictions’ General Plan updates should include GHG analysis during CEQA preparation. If a jurisdiction creates a qualified CAP during the General Plan update process, environmental review for future projects can be streamlined, which saves time and money.

How is a CAP Developed?
CAPs are usually created during a jurisdiction’s General Plan initial creation or update process. A CAP committee is created from members of the community, jurisdiction staff and elected officials, outside consultants or a combination of the above. During the planning process, the CAP Committee engages local stakeholders and does community outreach for input into the plan. Truckee 2040’s CAP Committee is made up of interested members of the General Plan Advisory Committee, and its meetings are open to the public and always include an opportunity for public comment. The CAP Committee will select GHG emission reduction measures that are most appropriate for the specific jurisdiction’s environmental conditions, goals and priorities. Beyond the benefits of reducing GHG emissions, a CAP can help make other improvements for Truckee. CAPs can also reduce a community’s operating expenses, create new green job opportunities and improve the economy, increase public health through the reduction of air pollution, enhance environmental justice and make the jurisdiction qualified for state funds that are tied to climate change action.

Creating a Climate Action Plan is a critical piece of the Truckee 2040 General Plan update. MAP encourages you to get involved with this important process that will shape the future of our community. For more information, be sure to sign up for MAP’s E-Newsletter here and for Truckee 2040 updates here.


Climate Action Plans: An Overview (Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability)
California’s Climate Plan (California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board)
Climate Action Plans: Local Examples (Institute for Local Government)
Climate Action Plan Resources (Institute for Local Government)