On November 16, 2022, the California Air Resources Board (CARB or the Board) proposed a new Scoping Plan for the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Generally, the Scoping Plan is a means by which the Board can assess California’s progress toward achieving carbon neutrality by 2045, and issue new policies and strategy to meet that goal. The Board is required by law to update the Scoping Plan every five years, and this is the third such update since the California legislature enacted the California Global Warming Solutions Act in 2006. CARB staff are touting the Scoping Plan not only as reducing GHG emissions, but also as leading to the creation of four million new jobs and the avoidance of $200 billion in pollution-related health expenditures.
The proposed Scoping Plan has several notable features. For example, the plan emphasizes the promotion and deployment of Carbon Capture Utilization and Sequestration (CCUS) technologies which we summarized in an earlier post, here. These CCUS provisions anticipated by the Scoping Plan are intended to provide business opportunities in California related to technology development and deployment. Beyond CCUS development, however, the Scoping Plan includes several significant and broad steps to reduce GHG emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and foster carbon neutrality by 2045, or earlier, including:
- Slash GHG emissions by 85 percent;
- Install 6 million heat pumps;
- Reduce oil consumption by 94 percent;
- Deploy 20 GW of offshore wind capacity;
- Build 7 million climate-friendly homes;
- Remove 100 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent;
- Achieve 20 percent non-combustion in the aviation sector; and
- Reduce light-duty vehicle miles traveled 30 percent per capita below 1990 levels.
The 2022 Scoping Plan is slated to be adopted by year-end and it is widely expected to garner the necessary votes during CARB’s next and final meeting of the year being held on December 15-16, 2022. Indeed, the actions taken by CARB incorporate climate goals recommended by Governor Newsom in his July 22, 2022 letter to CARB Chair Randolph. Subsequent to the proposal of CARB’s most recent Scoping Plan, Governor Newsom stated this plan is “the most ambitious climate action of any jurisdiction in the world.”
The release of the Scoping Plan stands against the backdrop of legislation signed by Governor Newsom in September, the “California Climate Crisis Act,” that directs CARB to revise the Scoping Plan to achieve statewide anthropogenic GHG reductions at least 85% below 1990 levels by 2045. It also directs that California achieve net zero GHG emissions as soon as possible, but no later than 2045, and to achieve and maintain net negative GHG emissions thereafter.
At bottom, CARB will likely seek to achieve the emissions reduction goals of the Scoping Plan through new regulatory programs. This will require additional state-level rulemaking and legislation. Therefore, a focused and sustained effort from businesses that participate in the carbon markets, CCUS development, and production of energy in California over the next several years is needed. For more information on California’s actions, contact our environmental and energy teams who are working across the full-spectrum of issues raised by the Scoping Plan, such as supporting CCUS development and deployment, advising on production of eFuels, and addressing the range of issues associated with the state’s conversion to electric vehicles and efforts to reduce and eliminate fossil fuel use in a range of non-road equipment and vehicles.