SACRAMENTO – California’s groundbreaking effort to fight climate change took another big step forward today as the California Air Resources Board released the proposed plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 – the most ambitious target in North America. The plan builds on the state’s successful efforts to reduce emissions and outlines the most effective ways to reach the 2030 goal, including continuing California’s Cap-and-Trade Program.
Achieving the 2030 target under the proposed plan will continue to build on investments in clean energy and set the California economy on a trajectory to achieving an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This is consistent with the scientific consensus of the scale of emission reductions needed to stabilize atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations at 450 parts per million carbon dioxide equivalent, and reduce the likelihood of catastrophic climate change.
“Climate change is impacting California now, and we need to continue to take bold and effective action to address it head on to protect and improve the quality of life in California,” said CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols. “The plan will help us meet both our climate and our clean air goals in the coming decades and provide billions of dollars in investments to cut greenhouse gases, smog and toxic pollution in disadvantaged communities throughout the state. It is also designed to continue to drive creative innovation, generating good new jobs in the growing clean technology sector.”
For the past decade, California has been reducing emissions through a series of actions, innovative solutions and advances in technology. These include cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars and zero emission vehicles, low-carbon fuels, renewable energy, waste diversion from landfills, water conservation, improvements to energy efficiency in homes and businesses, and a Cap-and-Trade Program. The result is improved public health, a growing economy with more green jobs, and better clean energy choices for Californians.
Assembly Bill 32, signed in 2006, set California’s initial goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and directed CARB to develop a climate change scoping plan – to be updated every five years – detailing specific measures needed to reach the target. Today’s proposed plan, required by the Governor’s April 2015 Executive Order, updates the previous scoping plan to account for the new 2030 target codified in Senate Bill 32.
The proposed plan continues the Cap-and-Trade Program through 2030 and includes a new approach to reduce greenhouse gases from refineries by 20 percent. It incorporates approaches to cutting super pollutants from the Short Lived Climate Pollutants Strategy. And it acknowledges the need for reducing emissions in agriculture and highlights the work underway to ensure that California’s natural and working lands increasingly sequester carbon.
Achieving the 2030 goal will require contributions from all sectors of the economy and will include enhanced focus on zero- and near-zero emission vehicle technologies; continued investment in renewable energy, 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; and an increased focus on integrated land-use planning to support livable, transit-connected communities.
The proposed plan, which follows the release of a discussion draft in December, analyzes the potential economic impacts of different policy scenarios, including a carbon tax, and calculates the benefit to society of taking actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The plan also includes the estimated range of greenhouse gas, criteria pollutant and toxic pollutant emissions reductions of each measure.
The analysis in the plan finds that Cap-and-Trade is the lowest cost, most efficient policy approach and provides certainty that the state will meet the 2030 goals even if other measures fall short. The Cap-and-Trade Program funds the California Climate Investments program, which provides funds for community, local, regional and statewide projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions – with at least 35 percent of proceeds invested in disadvantaged and low-income communities. To date, a total of $3.4 billion in cap-and-trade funds have been appropriated for the California Climate Investments program.
The proposed plan was developed by CARB staff over the past 18 months working with multiple State agencies and departments. This effort was guided by legislation and reflects input from dozens of public workshops and community meetings, and input from CARB’s Environmental Justice Advisory Committee and many other stakeholders.
The first of three public hearings on the proposed plan will be held at the regularly scheduled Board meeting on January 27. The California Air Resources Board is slated to hold workshops in February and hear an update at the February 16 Board meeting.
The Final 2017 Scoping Plan Update will be released in late March and be considered for approval by the Board in late April.
The full text of “The 2017 Scoping Plan Update: The Proposed Plan for Achieving California’s 2030 Greenhouse Gas Target” is available at:
Stakeholders and the public are encouraged to submit comments by 5:00 PM PST on March 6, 2017.