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The Next Step on Climate Action: Parking Reform

California is finally poised to lift parking requirements across the state. Here’s why that would be a huge win for the climate.

Los Angeles, home of ample parking.

Los Angeles, home of ample parking.

Photo by Qian Weizhong/VCG via Getty Images

The recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, and its historic investments in technologies that will reduce climate pollution, are a harbinger of a possibly more hopeful climate future. But there’s a giant climate task left on the table, and it’s one where Congress doesn’t hold much sway: urban land use.

The built environment plays a substantial role in climate pollution, both in terms of energy use in our homes and businesses, and in the transportation systems we use to get around. While the IRA’s historic investment in “electrifying everything” — from vehicles to household heating and cooling — will make a huge difference, there’s still a large gap between the climate ambition of our electric future and the reality of how our cities set incentives for low-carbon lifestyles.