Publication Date

Spring 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies


Rachel O'Malley


California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), CEQA, Environmental Impact Assessment, Environmental Impact Report (EIR), Greenhouse Gas Analysis

Subject Areas

Environmental studies; Environmental management; Environmental science


Analysis of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is an emerging practice, which, if done correctly, could contribute significantly towards meeting California's GHG emission reduction goals set under the Global Warming Solution Act of 2006. Whether CEQA analysis is adequate in assessing climate impacts of GHG emissions has yet to be determined.

In this research, I evaluated the quality of climate change analyses in the draft environmental impact reports (DEIRs) prepared for 14 mixed-use projects in California. Results of this research indicated that CEQA analysis did not adequately include the effects of population density around the project sites, nor were project-related Vehicular Miles Traveled (VMT) accurately accounted for while estimating GHG emissions. Thus, potential GHG emission reduction benefits of mixed-use developments located in higher densities may not be realized using the current analysis methods.