California’s proposed GHG scoping plan update sets most ambitious target in North America.

January 3, 2017

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) released its initial draft plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030—the most ambitious target in North America, according to a December 3, 2016 report from DieselNet. The plan builds on the state’s successful efforts to reach its more immediate goal of reducing GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and outlines the ways to reach the new 2030 goal.

“Now more than ever, the nation—and the world—are looking to California for leadership on climate change and air quality. Denial is not an option. We must plan, invest and transform,” said ARB Chair Mary D. Nichols. “This draft plan builds on California’s decade-long success in transforming the state’s economy. It sets in place a public process to develop the policies that will create continued opportunities for innovation and investment, benefit disadvantaged communities and ensure California continues to lead the fight against the global threat of climate change.”

California GHG Inventory Trend

Assembly Bill 32 (AB 32), signed in 2006, set California’s initial goal to reduce GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. California has been on track to meet the 2020 target—the state’s 2014 GHG emissions were 441.5 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents (MMTCO2e), 35 MMTCO2e lower than in 2006.

AB 32 directed the ARB to develop a climate change scoping plan—to be updated every five years—detailing the specific measures needed to reach the emission target. The newly released draft plan updates the previous scoping plan to account for the new 2030 target codified in Senate Bill 32.

The draft plan analyzes continuing the Cap-and-Trade program, and shows how Cap-and-Trade provides more certainty that the state will meet the 2030 goals even if other measures fall short. The Cap-and-Trade program funds the California Climate Change Investments program, which provides funds for community, local, regional and

California 2014 GHG contributions
by pollutant and by sector

statewide projects aimed at reducing GHG emissions—with at least 35% of proceeds to be invested in disadvantaged communities.

The draft plan also includes two alternative strategies—one that relies on more direct regulations, and one that includes a carbon tax. All of the strategies propose direct GHG reductions at oil refineries, particularly in disadvantaged communities historically located adjacent to these large stationary sources of emissions.

To achieve the 2030 goal—under any scenario—will include enhanced focus on zero- and near-zero emission vehicle technologies; continued investment in renewables, including solar and wind; greater use of low-carbon fuels; integrated land conservation and development strategies; coordinated efforts to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants, which include methane, black carbon and fluorinated gases; an increased focus on integrated land use planning to support livable, transit-connected communities and conservation of agricultural and other lands.

The ARB will release another update to this plan in January 2017—following a December workshop—which will include detailed economic and environmental analyses and document the social cost of carbon, and the range of greenhouse gas, criteria pollutant and toxic pollutant emission reductions from each proposed measure in the plan. The plan is expected to be finalized for consideration in Spring 2017.

What this means to you
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) initial draft plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 203 sets the most ambitious target in North America.

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