CARB approves 2022 Scoping Plan; aggressive targets for reductions in petroleum use, air pollution and greeenhouse gas emissions
The California Air Resources Board last week approved the final proposed 2022 Scoping Plan (earlier post), a roadmap to reduce demand for petroleum by 94%, cut air pollution by 71%, reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85%, and reach carbon neutrality by 2045. The action by the Board finalizes a process to develop the final plan that has been in the works for two years.
The 2022 Scoping Plan includes a commitment to build no new fossil gas-fired power plants and increases support for mass transit. It also calls for a multi-agency process to ensure that the transition away from oil extraction and refining is equitable.
The plan also includes actions to capture and store carbon through the state’s natural and working lands (including its forests), and calls upon a variety of mechanical approaches to remove and safely store carbon dioxide to address the remaining 15% of greenhouse gas emissions that will remain in 2045 after the stringent direct reductions from every regulated source.
The initial draft of the 2022 Scoping Plan was considered by the Board at its June meeting and discussed with the Environmental Justice Advisory Committee (EJAC) in September. The final plan includes changes requested by the Board and Governor Newsom, public comments, and recommendations from the EJ Advisory Committee. It also reflects direction from new state laws passed by the Legislature this year.
As a result, the final modeling for the Scoping Plan demonstrates increased ambition, projecting a 48% reduction of greenhouse gases below 1990 levels in 2030, surpassing the minimum statutory emissions reduction goal of 40% below 1990 levels in 2030.
The updated modeling also includes 3 million climate-friendly homes by 2030 (and 7 million by 2035), 6 million heat pumps deployed by 2030, no new fossil gas capacity in the electricity sector, and 20 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2045.
Additionally, the plan provides the Climate Vulnerability Metric, a new tool to identify communities especially vulnerable to harm from a changing climate and worsening air quality, ensuring that those communities’ public health and environmental concerns are front-and-center as the state moves ahead.
The Scoping Plan divides the transportation sector into three general categories:
Technology: the vehicles themselves, as well as the associated refueling infrastructure for those vehicles. Vehicles must transition to zero emission technology to decarbonize the transportation sector.
Fuels: the energy source used to power vehicles and the facilities that produce them. Transitioning away from conventional ICE vehicles is part of the solution, but there must be an adequate supply of zero-carbon alternative fuel and distribution is available to power these vehicles. Electricity and hydrogen are currently the primary fuels for ZEVs, and both fuels must be produced using low-carbon technology and feedstocks to minimize upstream emissions.
Vehicle miles traveled (VMT): vehicle travel, which is a product of development patterns and available transportation options. Managing total demand for transportation energy by reducing the miles people need to drive on a daily basis is critical as the state aims for a sustainable transportation sector in a carbon neutral economy. Though GHG emissions are declining due to cleaner vehicles and fuels, rising VMT can offset the effective benefits of adopted regulations.
CARB is not setting regulatory limits on VMT in the 2022 Scoping Plan; the authority to reduce VMT largely lies with state, regional, and local transportation, land use, and housing agencies, along with the Legislature and its budgeting choices.
The Scoping Plan does call for a per capita VMT reduction of at least 25% below 2019 levels by 2030 and 30% by 2045.