very five years, the California Air Resources Board creates a five-year strategic plan laying out state priorities for research on air quality and climate issues. They are asking members of the public to weigh in, either by submitting a comment on an air quality or climate concern or by suggesting research topics.

To take the survey, start at this page. CARB asks responders to select their local air district, which can be a bit confusing because the list of choices looks like a list of counties. This list – which can also be found on the survey page – explains how to find your local air district. For example, residents of San Bernardino or Los Angeles counties could be within the South Coast Air Quality District (which is just listed as “South Coast”) or not, depending where they live.

Responses are requested by April 16.

Suggestions are compiled and considered in CARB’s five-year strategic plan, which identifies priorities, defines research projects, and estimates costs to complete the research. Studies are either contracted out or completed within the agency.

The overarching goal of the research plan is to build on past research, support informed policies and regulations, and advance science in the areas of public health, environmental justice, economics, air quality, and climate.

This five-year plan also begins the process of incorporating racial equity into CARB research – this is in its infant stages and could greatly benefit from public input.

The public survey is being conducted at the same time as a parallel process in which CARB has been meeting with community-based organizations to help formulate environmental-justice-focused research questions. The third round of those meetings, currently planned for July, will be in the form of regional roundtables that anyone can attend. Notifications about those meetings will be posted on CARB’s website, and people can sign up to receive updates.

A public meeting will be held in August to discuss proposed research topics, and the Five Year Strategic Research Plan will be released early next year.

Summaries of past public comments can be found at this page. A quick perusal reveals that topics from hydrogen fuels to community engagement to toxic air pollution, solar policy, and zero emission battery chemistry have been proposed.

Weigh in on a topic you think needs more study.

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