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California ARB releases discussion draft of plan to cut GHG by 40% by 2030

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) released its initial draft plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030—the most ambitious target in North America. The 2030 Target Scoping Plan Discussion Draft builds on the state’s efforts to reach its more immediate goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and outlines the most effective ways to reach the new 2030 goal, including continuing California’s Cap-and-Trade program.

In his January 2015 inaugural address, California Governor Jerry Brown identified five key climate change strategy “pillars,” which recognize that several major areas of the California economy will need to reduce their emissions to meet California’s ambitious climate change goals. These five pillars are:

  1. Reducing today’s petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50%;

  2. Increasing electricity derived from renewable source from one-third to 50%;

  3. Doubling the efficiency savings achieved at existing buildings and making heating fuels cleaner;

  4. Reducing the release of methane, black carbon, and other short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs); and

  5. Managing farm and rangelands, forests and wetlands so they can store carbon.

Source: 2030 Target Scoping Plan Discussion Draft. Click to enlarge.

Governor Brown subsequently signed Executive Order B-30-15 in April 2015 establishing a California GHG reduction target of 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. Executive Order B-30-15 also calls on ARB, in coordination with sister agencies, to update the AB 32 Climate Change Scoping Plan to incorporate the 2030 target.

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 the specific measures needed to reach the target. The new draft 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 and reflects input from 18 public workshops and community meetings, numerous state government agencies and CARB’s Environmental Justice Advisory Committee.

The draft plan analyzes continuing the Cap-and-Trade program, which is currently being used to reach the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals. The analysis 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 statewide projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions—with at least 35% of proceeds to be invested in disadvantaged communities. To date, approximately $3.4 billion has been invested.

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 greenhouse gas reductions at oil refineries to improve air quality in California, particularly in disadvantaged communities historically located adjacent to these large stationary sources of emissions.

To achieve the 2030 goal—under any scenario—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 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.

Transportation. The transportation sector is the largest emitter of GHG emissions in California, and is projected to continue to grow as the state’s population increases to 50 million people by 2050 from about 39.1 million people currently.

Through effective policy design, the State has an opportunity to guide technology transformation and influence investment decisions with a view to mitigate climate and environmental impacts while promoting economic opportunities and community health and safety. The network of transportation technology and infrastructure, in turn, shapes and is shaped by development and land use patterns that can either support or detract from a more sustainable, low-carbon, multi-modal transportation future. Strategies to reduce GHG emissions from the transportation sector, therefore, must actively address not only infrastructure and technology, but also coordinated strategies to achieve development, conservation, and land use patterns that align with the State’s GHG and other policy goals.

… While the majority of the GHG reductions from the transportation sector in this Discussion Draft will come from technologies and low carbon fuels, a reduction in the growth of VMT is also needed. VMT reductions are necessary to achieve the 2030 target and must be part of any strategy evaluated in this plan. Stronger SB 375 GHG reduction targets will enable the State to make significant progress towards this goal, but alone will not provide all of the VMT growth reductions that will be needed. There is a gap between what SB 375 can provide and what is needed to meet the State’s 2030 and 2050 goals. More needs to be done through continued land use changes, synergies with emerging mobility solutions like ridesourcing, and changes in travel behavior, especially among millennials.

—2030 Target Scoping Plan Discussion Draft

CARB will release another update to this plan in January 2017 following a December 2016 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 as required by Assembly Bill 197—companion legislation to Senate Bill 32. The plan is expected to be finalized for consideration in Spring 2017.


Nick Lyons

So why are we closing Diablo Canyon, which is by far the largest (and most reliable) zero-carbon electricity producer in California?


Nick if read the last 6 months , nuclear is not price competitive . Also not worth the billions it costs to renew the operating permit considering it is siting on an active fault bisecting san luis obispo.We should be pushing for offshore and onshore wind farms there is in a very high percent utilization.
Hydro power storage would also work at Diablo.
Unless they could convert the reactor to safer fuels like Thorium, which would make alot more sense then paying to clean up the radio active site.
Read up on Thorium at Oakridge national laboratory. The government blocked it because they needed reactors to make nuclear weapons.


Diablo Canyon won't close for another 10 years.


Diablo Canyon is a old plant and many believe the radiation has weakened the structure plus it sits on an earthquake fault. Even if it was economically feasible to continue, I doubt the folks in California would want it. The movement for less expensive renewable energy is far too great and based on the history of nuclear plants in California, I look for it to be replace asap.

Nick Lyons

Diablo Canyon NPP is one of the lowest cost electricity producers in CA--operating costs are 3-4 cents/kWhr. Wind and solar are *much* higher, and only competitive because of Renewable Portfolio Standards which require the electric utilities to have increasing percentages of 'renewable' (but not low-carbon) power. Wind and solar are very heavily subsidized on a per-kW basis, unlike nuclear.

Closing Diablo Canyon is beyond stupid. The loss of generation will be made up with increased gas generation, as it did with the closure of San Onofre.


Nick, it is on an active earthquake fault. Those operating cost equations totally omit that problem. And, to complain about subsidies for any other technology with the enormous subsidies granted to nuclear is fairly weird.


We can close Diablo, run Combined Cycle natural gas plants AND reduce CO2. This is not an either/or world, it is an AND world if we use our intelligence and stop falling victims to other's agendas.


Nuclear just to valuable a tool and should receive investment. We need a portfolio of well engineered nuclear power plants. The industry needs certainty and a foundation guarantee of future to employ experts to keep this ball rolling. Also, R&D investment and construction schedule should be maintained at a sustainable rate. It is not an either/or world, but diversity. We should make replacement cost of nuclear very cost effective to ensure the best in class and safest plants are operating. We need to turn down the senseless rhetoric from the uninformed class.

When regulators talk of carbon, they best include nature's. They do include land use change, but it appears to me misguided. Meaning their info appears to miss inform public. First man made carbon is no different than natures and they have to describe all the sources fully. This will let the public gain a proper perspective of cost vs benefit. There are plenty of low cost alternatives that are most powerful. For example it is foolish to just regulate forestland to ancient or undisturbed status. This class of forest land actually will eventually become carbon neutral. We need to invest to heavily manage forests to maximize carbon storage. That goal lies directly with common forestry practices to maximize forest timber production. This includes conversion to forestland and plantings. Old trees do lock up tons of carbon per premium girth growth rates a good thing in forestry. But, a properly managed forest must minimize stunted tree growth and threat of fires and disease. This will magnify carbon efficiency and storage of the forest. Same with maximizing wildlife, it's just another factor within forestry management that is becoming more popular. We do need to saw up old trees to make room for new growth. To lock up carbon within retail timber supplies is a good thing. To convert forest wastes to biofuel and biomass is also a good thing for the environment. Old rotting trees are not a good thing. Some insect infected trees o.k. for the wood peckers. There are many low cost improvements to be made.

Same for agriculture, wherein investing within best practices is good for environment and farming. Again we need to get out of this simplistic either or mentality. There are no simplistic assumptions upon woodland or farmlands.

Biofuel and biomass is the best thing that came along for minimizing GW gasses. It put value within the target zone that can do the most good. To many senseless cliches thrown out such as food vs fuel or land change. You can't measure these variables and conclude any benefit or demerit. Land should change to best use and food and fuel go hand and hand to help each other balance demand for their farming practices. Farmers do manage their forestland and will plant more of these crops. Some forestland should be farmland. An interesting top tier environmental company is blurring the distinction. Read up on GreenWood resources as they have amazing efficient forestry practices. They farm fast growing trees.

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