Navigating BAAQMD’s Thresholds of Significance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions
As part of its new CEQA Air Quality Guidelines, adopted on June 2, 2010, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) has established thresholds of significance for greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) associated with proposed projects and plan adoptions. These are the first quantitative GHG thresholds for non-industrial uses adopted by a government agency in California. BAAQMD developed a series of GHG thresholds for different project types, sizes, and planning contexts.
Ascent Environmental has developed a GHG Threshold Navigation Chart to help lead agencies apply these thresholds to the evaluation of GHG emissions associated with development projects in the Bay Area.
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As shown by the flow chart, projects are evaluated according to their consistency with existing GHG reduction strategies in qualified climate action plans, the overall mass emissions that they would generate, or the GHG efficiency at which they would operate. Thus, projects need not be directly compared to a baseline emissions level or business-as-usual scenario. The GHG thresholds were developed based on the GHG reductions goals of AB 32, the level of projected development in the Bay Area, and reductions that would already occur under existing legislation (e.g., Low Carbon Fuel Standard, Pavley regulations, Renewable Portfolio Standard for electricity generation).
Staff at Ascent Environmental, including Honey Walters, Heather Phillips, and Austin Kerr, served on the consultant team to BAAQMD supporting the development of its thresholds for GHGs, as well as other criteria and toxic emissions. The methods used to develop the thresholds are discussed in BAAQMD’s Proposed Thresholds of Significance.
Please feel free to contact Ascent Environmental for additional questions or support. BAAQMD’s new CEQA Air Quality Guidelines were adopted on June 2, 2010.