Project Title:Interim Greenhouse Gas Emissions CEQA Thresholds
Case Number: 
Project Location:Countywide
Assigned Staff and Division:

Selena Evilsizor WhitneyLong Range Planning Division


County Board of Supervisors Hearing

The Planning and Development Department (P&D) is presenting interim greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions thresholds of significance to the Board of Supervisors on January 26, 2021. Please go here to view the Board of Supervisors hearing agendas and project materials, and to find instructions on how to participate in the hearing or submit comments on the project. The hearing will be live-streamed on the County's CSBTV YouTube page

Interim GHG Emissions Thresholds of Significance Memorandum

P&D released the "Santa Barbara County Interim Greenhouse Gas Thresholds Justification" Memorandum in October, 2020. The Memorandum is available here. It describes the recommended interim thresholds of significance and the methodology used to arrive at the recommended interim thresholds.

Public Webinar

The Long Range Planning Division held a public webinar on Tuesday, September 8, 2020, to present draft interim GHG emissions thresholds of significance. 

The PowerPoint presentation for the webinar is available here. A recording of the webinar is available here.


The Planning and Development Department (P&D) is proposing interim GHG emissions thresholds of significance. The thresholds will establish when an individual project creates significant cumulative impacts from GHG emissions under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The interim thresholds will apply to new development in unincorporated areas of the County.

The County currently has GHG emissions thresholds of significance for industrial stationary source projects. The interim thresholds will apply to all other types of land use projects. Therefore, the County must update its Environmental Thresholds and Guidelines Manual to include the interim thresholds.

P&D staff worked with Ascent Environmental to develop the interim GHG emissions thresholds. Ascent's final Memorandum describing recommended interim thresholds is available here

The County Planning Commission reviewed the proposed interim thresholds on November 4th and November 12th, 2021. The County Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of the interim thresholds to the County Board of Supervisors.

The County is also updating its Climate Action Plan and expects to complete the update in 2022. These interim GHG emissions thresholds of significance will be reviewed as part of the CAP update, and will become adopted as final thresholds upon adoption of the updated CAP.


Staff report and materials from County Planning Commission November 4, 2020 hearing

Santa Barbara County Interim Greenhouse Gas Thresholds Justification Memorandum

September 8, 2020, public webinar presentation slides and video

Important Links

California Governor's Office of Planning and Research, "CEQA and Climate Change"

Santa Barbara County Energy and Climate Action Plan

Additional Information

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Learn more about other County initiatives to address climate change by visiting