Calif. ARB releases GHG scoping plan update; more ZEVs, “LEV IV”, MD and HD regulations; ZEV for trucks; more LCFS
The California Air Resources Board released the draft proposed first update to the AB 32 Scoping Plan, which guides development and implementation of California’s greenhouse gas emission reduction programs. The Air Resources Board is required to update the Scoping Plan every five years.
Among the actions proposed or considered in the transportation sector include aggressive implementation of the light-duty Zero Emission Vehicle standard; LEV IV emissions regulations for the light-duty fleet post-2025 (GHG reductions of about 5% per year); Phase 2 GHG regulations for medium and heavy-duty (MD and HD) vehicles; a possible ZEV regulation for trucks; more stringent carbon reduction targets for the Low Carbon Fuel Standard; and others.
Background. The 2013 Scoping Plan update lays out the remaining steps to the 2020 limits set by AB 32. The update identifies eight key sectors for ongoing action: Energy; Transportation, fuels, land use and infrastructure; Agriculture; Water; Waste management; Natural lands; Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (such as methane and black carbon); and Green Buildings. Overall, the update:
identifies opportunities to leverage existing and new funds to drive GHG emission reductions through strategic planning and targeted low carbon investments;
defines ARB’s climate change priorities for the next five years;
sets the groundwork to reach long-term goals set forth in the relevant executive orders;
highlights California’s progress toward meeting the “near-term” 2020 GHG emission reduction goals defined in the initial Scoping Plan; and evaluates how to align the State’s “longer-term” GHG reduction strategies with other State policy priorities for water, waste, natural resources, clean energy, transportation, and land use.
Transportation. California’s transportation system accounts for about 38% of the state’s GHG emissions and is the primary source of smog-forming and toxic air pollution in the State. Mandatory regional criteria pollutant reduction targets will be established in the 2016 State Implementation Plans (SIPs) with expected reductions on the order of 90% below 2010 levels in the South Coast and similar reductions in the San Joaquin Valley by the year 2032. Many of the strategies employed to reduce GHG emissions will also work to meet the national ambient air quality standard for ozone in 2032.
California has already taken a number of actions to cut greenhouse emissions from the transportation sector that combined are target to cut in half emissions from passenger transportation over the next 20 years. Major transportation related policies already in place are:
The Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). Since its launch in 2011, the regulation has generated a multitude of unique approaches for cleaner fuels.
California’s vehicle GHG standards—authorized by AB 1493 (Pavley) in 2002, first approved in 2004, and extended in 2012—are delivering fuel consumption and CO2 reductions. These rules cover model years through 2025; ARB is working with the US EPA on national GHG standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks.
California’s zero emission vehicle (ZEV) regulation is also driving a transformation of the fleet. As a result of ARB’s 2012 ZEV program and Governor Brown’s Executive Order B-16-12, California expects to have more than 1.5 million zero emission vehicles on its roads by 2025.
California is also making strides toward reducing the number of miles people drive, through more sustainable local and regional housing, land use, and transportation planning. To date, seven Metropolitan Planning Organizations have adopted Sustainable Community Strategies.
|“… the light-duty vehicle segment will need to become largely electrified by 2050 in order to meet California’s emission reduction goals.”
—Draft Scoping Plan Update
The actions identified in the Scoping Plan Update represent a natural extension of these existing policies, including targeted investment, strategic market support, and coordinated planning for more sustainable development.
Recommendations are based on technologies currently available or expected in the near term, and on planning and investment steps that can be taken now.
However, to achieve the needed transportation GHG reductions and the corresponding 2032 ozone standards, the market uptake of advanced technologies will need to be accelerated. Additional strategies are needed over the next five years to define the paths for longer-term change. As all these actions and policies are implemented, they will need to be consistent with principles and criteria, as recommended by the Environmental Justice Advisory Committee (EJAC), that ensure access, equity, and benefits to vulnerable communities.
… California’s regulatory programs and planning efforts provide a basic foundation to build lasting markets where vehicle/equipment manufacturers, suppliers, and fuel providers who make large, smart investments are handsomely rewarded for developing leading technologies. Standards should drive technologies to higher volumes, lower prices, and ultimately, become market-winning solutions, rather than compliance approaches.—Draft Scoping Plan Update
Efficient Vehicle and Engine Technology and Zero Emissions Technology. As part of California’s Advanced Clean Cars program, the ZEV Regulation requires about 15% of new cars sold in California in 2025 to be a plug-in hybrid, battery electric, or fuel cell vehicle. California currently has 60,000 ZEVs (primarily light-duty vehicles, including battery electric, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles) on its roadways. Continuing to support and develop zero emission vehicle markets within California and elsewhere is critical to achieving California’s emissions reduction requirements, the report notes.
California earlier outlined several steps in the State’s ZEV Action Plan (earlier post), further to support the market and to accelerate its growth. The Action Plan outlines actions grouped under four broad goals: Complete needed infrastructure and planning; Expand consumer awareness and demand; Transform fleets; and Grow jobs and investment in the private sector. The update calls for committed implementation of the actions described in the ZEV plan.
The update to the scoping plan also suggests a role for “LEV IV” regulations post 2025:
Continuing progress on light-duty vehicles beyond the scope of the Advanced Clean Cars program with a LEV IV standard targeted at achieving additional GHG reductions of about 5% per year beyond 2025 would reduce new vehicle emission standards to about 125 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per mile (gCO2e/mi) in 2030 and to below 100 g CO2e/mi by 2035. Furthermore, commercially available technologies, such as low-rolling resistant tires for light-duty vehicles, can be utilized by both new and in-use vehicles in the near-term to achieve GHG emission reductions.
On the medium- and heavy-duty on-road side, the update report looks to a Phase 2 GHG standard, on which ARB staff is working with the US EPA for Board consideration by 2016.
Under these standards, natural gas (NG) trucks will likely be deployed in large numbers, and hybrid electric trucks (HEVs) will begin to scale up in the fleet. Heavy-duty vehicle NOx reductions are an essential part of reducing criteria pollutants by 90% by 2032 in extreme nonattainment areas.
To continue reducing emissions, zero and near-zero emission technologies [for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles] will need to be deployed in large numbers, on a path that includes increasing sales on the order of 5–10 percent annually. In addition to clean NG trucks, BEV and FCV technology could be deployed in urban fleet applications and medium-heavy classifications. This is particularly true for fleets that have a central fueling hub. For the heavier classifications with moderate range, strategies could include plug-in hybrid technology with catenary electric infrastructure along transport corridors. For heavy, long-range applications where electrification is not practical, low-carbon sources of energy, such as renewable fuels and hydrogen FCVs, will be necessary.
For successful implementation of these strategies, California needs to make similar commitments to develop zero emission vehicle markets for heavy-duty vehicles and equipment. Many zero emission technologies for trucks have progressed at least to the demonstration phase, and in the case of smaller trucks, battery-powered vehicles are available commercially in small volumes. However, ZEV technology for Class 7 and 8 vehicles, which account for most of heavy-duty vehicle emissions, has not progressed as far as it has for light-duty vehicles. Where the technology is available or being demonstrated, near-term challenges exist in terms of cost, vehicle range, payload, and the need for associated infrastructure. Additional steps to support heavy-duty ZEV technology may include setting targets for the number of vehicles, infrastructure deployment, zero emission truck miles, and consideration of a ZEV mandate for applicable truck categories or sectors.—Draft Scoping Plan Update
Low-Carbon Fuels. The Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), adopted in 2009, requires the carbon intensity of transportation fuels to be reduced by at least 10 percent in 2020. While the primary goal is reducing carbon intensity and concomitant greenhouse gas emissions, implementation will also necessarily diversify the fuel portfolio.
In addition, fuels will come under California’s Cap-and-Trade Program in 2015. Together, LCFS and Cap-and-Trade provide a structure to ensure that necessary emission reductions are achieved and provide an effective market signal to accelerate innovation and development of cleaner fuels.
In 2014 ARB will consider extending the LCFS, with more aggressive targets for 2030.
Transportation, Land Use, and Housing. Senate Bill (SB) 375 gave California a novel policy mechanism for reducing transportation-sector GHG emissions. Regional and local planning agencies are responsible for developing Sustainable Communities Strategies (SCS) as part of the federally required Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), and also responsible for developing State-required general plan housing elements to help meet these targets. (Earlier post.) The goal of SB 375 is to reduce GHG emissions from passenger vehicles through better-integrated regional transportation, land use, and housing planning that provides easier access to jobs, services, public transit, and active transportation options.
All seven metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) that have adopted SCS so far have met or exceeded the ARB-set targets. Successful implementation of these SCS is the critical next step in achieving the associated GHG reductions, the update notes.
Implementation of these strategies hinges on local actions to realize the GHG reductions envisioned in the regional SCS. The State’s proposed role is to provide ongoing support, through access to financial resources and incentives, guidance documents, housing element certification, planning tools, and other forms of technical assistance.
In 2014, ARB will review the advancements in data, models, analytical methodologies, and technologies that have taken place since 2010 to inform the need for and timing of revised MPO targets. This technical review will provide the foundation for a future target revision, consistent with each MPO’s time frame for updating its RTP under federal law. Future updates to SCS targets, along with other new transportation strategies, will help provide further emission reductions needed to achieve long-range reductions in transportation-related emissions.
Coordinated, comprehensive planning is critical to achieving deep emission reductions in the transportation sector, and must include the development of the 2014 California Freight Mobility Plan (Caltrans), the 2014 Sustainable Freight Strategy (ARB), the 2040 California Transportation Plan in 2015 (Caltrans), the 2016 SIP (ARB, SCAQMD, SJVAPCD), and all future regional sustainable community strategy and Regional Transportation Plan development and implementation. These planning efforts will need to identify the infrastructure, including fueling and intelligent transportation infrastructure, needed to support full-scale deployment of advanced technologies, improved throughput, and expanded access to rail, public transit, and active transportation.
As State agencies proceed with GHG emission reduction planning, it is necessary to integrate the need for significant NOx reductions by 2032 to meet the national ambient air quality standards for ozone. Tools developed to support these planning efforts should emphasize the needs of vulnerable communities, as recommended by EJAC. These needs include, but are not limited to: access to affordable public transit, electric vehicle charging, or other low-carbon fueling infrastructures; accessible affordable housing; and localized public health benefits.—Draft Scoping Plan Update
|Recommended key vehicle technology and fuel regulatory actions
Systems Efficiencies. Although many system efficiency strategies identified in the 2008 Scoping Plan have been employed, including, but not limited to, ship electrification at ports, tire pressure, and fuel-efficient tires, there is a need for more, the report says.
As examples, improved pavement engineering can reduce GHG emissions through improved fuel efficiency. Connected vehicle technology can provide real-time travel information and eco-routing or eco-driving suggestions, resulting in reduced emissions. Intelligent systems that coordinate signal timing and provide real-time information to drivers about signal status can reduce emissions in urban driving by up to 10%. Truck “platooning” can reduce GHG emissions and fuel consumption in participating vehicles by about 15%.
Myriad existing and emerging technologies will lead to an increasingly connected and automated transportation system and could have dramatic efficiency and emissions benefits. … Over the next five years, it will be critical to begin planning for these vehicles on our roads and to maximize their benefits and potential for GHG emissions reductions. California is already a leader in this emerging space, and the California Department of Motor Vehicles has issued the nation’s first draft rules regulating the testing of autonomous vehicles on California’s roads, pursuant to Senate Bill 1298 (Padilla, Chapter 570, Statutes of 2012). Many are also looking to California’s I-710 corridor to begin demonstrating and deploying intelligent transportation system technologies for heavy-duty trucks. Additional research is needed to better understand the impacts these vehicles will, or can, have on GHG emissions in California’s transportation sector, and how to best integrate automated vehicles within the State’s existing and evolving vehicle, fuel, and planning policy framework. The next Scoping Plan Update will include additional detail on the role of existing systems improvements and vehicle automation in meeting California’s transportation-sector emissions reduction goals.—Draft Scoping Plan Update
Sustainable Freight Strategy. In 2014, ARB will complete the first phase of the Sustainable Freight Strategy, which will identify and prioritize actions through at least 2020 to move California towards a sustainable freight system.
Building a coalition of freight stakeholders is a primary focus of the Strategy, and will ultimately be a significant driving force behind affecting change in areas outside of ARB’s sphere of influence, including advocating at the federal level and acquiring public and private funding for implementation.
Supporting Planning and Market Development through Targeted Investments. Incentive funding is essential to encourage use of alternative transportation modes, develop and deploy low-carbon fuels, spur fleet turnover, and continue to develop advanced technologies, the draft update asserts.
The draft update proposes leveraging available public money to scale-up clean technology markets and strategies and ensure necessary infrastructure investments, including the following:
ARB, CEC, CPUC, and CDFA will support growing markets for clean passenger transportation, advanced technology trucks and equipment, and low-carbon transportation fuels and energy, including any necessary infrastructure.
Caltrans, working with local and regional agencies, will consider lifecycle benefits and impacts (including environmental, construction, operation, and maintenance costs) for transportation infrastructure projects.
Caltrans and regional transportation agencies will increase investment in expanded transit and rail services, active transportation, and other VMT- reduction strategies in their next regional transportation plans.
SGC will support SCS implementation, including, for example, integration of the regional transportation and Regional Housing Needs Allocation planning, as well as provision of local assistance for transit, active transportation, and affordable transit-oriented housing development; therefore offering more efficient consumer choices.
Further, state agencies, including ARB and Caltrans, will incorporate into ongoing GHG planning efforts strategies that help achieve significant NOx reductions by 2032 to meet the national ambient air quality standards for ozone. The 2016 SIPs will outline attainment strategies through 2032.
Environmental Analysis. ARB is preparing an environmental analysis (EA) of the Scoping Plan Update, targeted for mid-March; the EA will be released for a 45-day public review. ARB will summarize and respond in writing to any comments submitted on the EA in a supplemental response document that will be considered by the Board for approval prior to final action on the Scoping Plan Update, projected to be sometime this Spring.