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CARB responds to State Auditor’s report; “doubling down”, new Scoping Plan in 2022

Earlier this week, the State Auditor of California released a report on an audit of the California Air Resources Board’s (ARB’s) transportation programs intended to reduce greenhouse gases. (Earlier post.) The report suggested that California might not meet its GHG reduction goals for 2030, determined that CARB must do more to help the State work strategically toward its climate change goals, and recommended a number of courses of action that would, in the view of the Office of the Auditor, increase the chances for success.

The recommendations focused on the management of the multiple programs, and CARB’s ability to gather data and to measure and analyze program effectiveness.

The audit report notes that CARB agreed with the recommendations and indicated that it is taking steps to implement them.

Subsequently, CARB issued a longer statement in response to the report:

Based on our previous experience we anticipate that full implementation of the state’s 2017 Scoping Plan (the state strategy for achieving our greenhouse gas reduction targets) [earlier post] would result in California hitting the 2030 target. Even so, we have much more to do to ensure our goals and targets are met. Ninety percent of Californians still breathe unhealthy air. We agree that this is unacceptable. We are implementing measures that support the transition to zero emission mobile and other sources at an unprecedented scope and scale—cars and trucks that use clean energy instead of burning petroleum fuels. The board will soon hear new regulatory items related to doubling down on zero-emission vehicles, trucks, and equipment.

Because things can change over a long planning horizon, we regularly assess our progress towards the target when the Scoping Plan is updated. We are preparing to launch the process for the next update with it scheduled to be considered by our board in 2022.

Our methodology for emissions reductions attribution undergoes an intense public process. Incentives and regulations are important policies in California’s portfolio. The ‘full story’ regarding how the state will meet its climate targets is laid out in the Scoping Plan.

The Auditor’s report underscores the need to double down on Advanced Clean Cars, clean trucks and incentive programs that ensure we meet our climate and air pollution goals and targets—we agree. Additionally, we expect emissions reductions moving forward will increase due to the Governor’s Zero-Emission by 2035 Executive Order that puts more pressure on the mobile source sector to reduce emissions.

The recommendations acknowledge the emission reductions that California is realizing while underscoring the need for further analysis to refine how those reductions and related benefits are attributed to the various programs. Many of the audit recommendations focused on areas where additional data collection and analysis would help CARB more strategically implement its GHG reduction programs. CARB looks forward to working with the public, the legislature and the state auditor to implement these recommendations and achieve our ambitious climate goals.

We are proud of the progress made driving down pollution throughout the state and will strive to further strengthen our world-leading programs as we respond to the auditor’s recommendations.

—California Air Resources Board (ARB)

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