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Assessing the three Es— environment, economy, and equity – in CAPs Survey, Responses, and Results


Lozano, Mark; Kendall, Alissa; Arnold, Gwen (2022), Assessing the three Es— environment, economy, and equity – in CAPs Survey, Responses, and Results, Dryad, Dataset,


The range of efforts to address climate change can span from international collaboration to personal action. This study looks at environmental efforts at the local jurisdictional level. Over the last decade, cities and counties have released climate action plans (CAPs) to set emissions reduction targets and outline actions that will help meet those goals. However, the range of information included in CAPs varies dramatically across jurisdictions. This study examines CAPs released by jurisdictions in California, focusing on the quantity and quality of information presented on the expected GHG emissions reduction, cost, and equity impacts of proposed climate actions. This research develops a framework to assess their inclusion, which could also be used to guide future CAP development, and develops a set of guiding questions to promote the inclusion of equity themes in climate action planning and implementation. To gauge the current state of climate action by local jurisdictions, a survey was implemented to better understand the (i) relative consideration of factors in climate action planning and implementation, (ii) factors which affect the inclusion of equity in climate action, (iii) the primary sources of funding for CAP implementation, and (iv) which factors affect the likelihood that an action is implemented. The survey found that, of the considered factors, expected emissions reduction is considered most during planning and implementation, while external impacts are considered the least. When comparing factors between planning and implementation, cost is significantly more important during implementation. For both phases, equity impacts received average levels of consideration. Free responses revealed that recent pushes by community members has encouraged local jurisdictions to include more equity themes in their climate planning. However, lifecycle equity, which considers local impacts across the lifecycle of an action, and thus beyond jurisdictional borders, is considered infeasible due to resource limitations and beyond the scope of local planning. Better equity planning would require systemic change at the jurisdiction, industry, state, and federal levels.


Files include:

Word format of the survey sent out to representatives from local jurisdictions.

Excel sheets containing data collected from local jurisdictions in California through an online survey. Prior to uploading, identifying information was removed to preserve the anonymity of respondents. This process included: removing the IP address, latitude, and longitude data for each response; and redacting the name of each jurisdiction, any mentions of the jurisdiction’s name in responses (including websites), mentions of City or County to further protect anonymity, and any other potentially identifying information (e.g., reference to the region they belong to, partners, specific organizations, etc.). 

An Excel sheet containing much of the processed data to identify trends and graph results from t-tests performed in R.

Excel with the scores for emissions, equity, and cost data inclusion in CAPs that were determined using a framework developed by the authors. These scores were compared to demographic data collected and published by the US Census Bureau. Linear regressions were performed in R. 


NCST - U.S. Department of Transportation, Award: 69A3551747114