The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has released the draft 2022 Climate Change Scoping Plan—the third update to the state’s initial 2008 Scoping Plan. It identifies a path to achieve carbon neutrality over the next two decades while also assessing the progress the State is making towards reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.
Release of the draft plan triggers a formal 45-day public comment period. During the 45-day public comment period, the Environmental Justice Advisory Committee may provide additional input on the draft plan. The Board will consider the plan in June and may then provide direction to staff, with an additional period of public comment and engagement prior to the second meeting of the Board in the fall to consider adopting a final draft of the plan.
CARB says that the most significant aspect of the draft plan is the aggressive pace and scale it calls for to reduce reliance on fossil fuels wherever they are currently used in California. It achieves this goal by building on and accelerating regulations, incentives, and carbon pricing that have been in place for a decade and a half. At the center of this shift away from fossil fuels is an accelerated transition to zero-emission transportation, phasing out the use of fossil gas used to heat homes and buildings, and providing communities with sustainable options for walking, biking, and public transit so that people do not have to rely on cars.
Action in the transportation sector will be buttressed by an acceleration of adding more clean, affordable, and reliable renewable energy to displace fossil-fuel fired electricity generation and scaling up new options such as hydrogen and renewable gas for hard-to-electrify end uses.
Achieving California’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2045 or sooner will also require re-envisioning forests, farmlands and rangelands to ensure that they play as robust a role as possible in reducing emissions and incorporating and storing more carbon.
The plan also makes clear that in order to succeed in balancing remaining carbon output with carbon storage, California will need to go beyond the capacity of its natural and working lands and deploy additional methods of capturing carbon dioxide that include pulling it from industrial smokestacks or drawing it out of the atmosphere itself and then safely and permanently storing it.
The draft 2022 Climate Change Scoping Plan was developed by the California Air Resources Board in collaboration and coordination with multiple state agencies. That broad-based coordination lays the foundation for a whole of government approach to future implementation. Development of the plan also included public engagement including over a dozen workshops, webinars or public meetings over the past year.
In addition, the draft plan was shaped by recommendations from the Environmental Justice Advisory Committee. The EJAC held 18 meetings and there are some five dozen recommendations of the committee referenced throughout the draft plan.
The draft Scoping Plan evaluated four potential scenarios for achieving carbon neutrality, all of which will also achieve the 2030 goal of reducing GHG emissions 40% below 1990 levels. Two of those scenarios would achieve carbon neutrality by 2035; the other two by 2045.
Through extensive modeling to determine future policy impacts on health and the economy CARB staff concluded that Scenario 3 provided the most economically and technologically feasible route to carbon neutrality, including providing equity-based solutions focused on affordability and job preservation.
Among the transportation-related actions for the proposed scenario are:
VMT per capita reduced 12% below 2019 levels by 2030 and 22% below 2019 levels by 2045
100% of LDV sales are ZEV by 2035
100% of medium duty (MD)/HDV sales are ZEV by 2040
10% of aviation fuel demand is met by electricity (batteries) or hydrogen (fuel cells) in 2045
Sustainable aviation fuel meets most or the rest of the aviation fuel demand that has not already transitioned to hydrogen or batteries
2020 OGV At-Berth regulation fully implemented with most OGVs (ocean-going vessels) utilizing shore power by 2027
25% of OGVs utilize hydrogen fuel cell electric technology by 2045
100% of cargo handling equipment (CHE) is zero-emission by 2037
100% of passenger and other locomotive sales are ZEV by 2030
100% of line haul locomotive sales are ZEV by 2035
Line haul and passenger rail rely primarily on hydrogen fuel cell technology, and others primarily utilize electricity
Phase out oil and gas extraction operations by 2045
CCS on majority of refinery operations by 2030
Scenario 3 aligns with all applicable statues and Executive Orders while deploying a broad portfolio of existing and emerging fossil fuel alternatives and clean technologies. It also provides a feasible timeline to develop the infrastructure and technology needed, especially the rapid build-out of renewable energy, and a lower overall cost of implementation with minimal impact on the economy. It will achieve an approximately 90% reduction in petroleum usage by 2045, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050, another state target.