SACRAMENTO, CA --- The California Air Resources Board released its Climate Change Draft Scoping Plan last week, charting a course to reduce California's greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent over the next 12 years.
"Our economy and our society face no greater threat than global warming," said Mary Nichols, chairman of the Air Resources Board. "This draft plan is the roadmap to move us quickly to a cleaner, more sustainable future, energy independence and a healthier environment. This plan fulfills the governor's determination to act now, and it is based on the conviction that Californians will rise to the challenge and develop creative solutions to improve our environment and grow our economy."
Development of the scoping plan is a central requirement of AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (Nuñez, Pavley), which calls on California to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Gov. Schwarzenegger signed the bill into law in September 2006. Release of the draft plan will be followed by further evaluation and economic modeling, and workshops are planned throughout the state to present the details to the general public.
Central to the draft plan is a cap-and-trade program covering 85 percent of the state's emissions. This program will be developed in conjunction with the Western Climate Initiative (www.westernclimateinitiative.org/), comprised of seven states and three Canadian provinces, to create a regional carbon market.
The draft plan also proposes that utilities produce a third of their energy from renewable sources such as wind, solar and geothermal, and proposes to expand and strengthen existing energy efficiency programs and building and appliance standards.
The draft plan calls for full implementation of the California Clean Car law (the Pavley standards) to provide a wide range of less polluting and more efficient cars and trucks to consumers. It also calls for development and implementation of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, which will require oil companies to make cleaner domestically produced fuels.
Several additional initiatives and measures play important roles in reaching the required reductions under AB 32. These include:
-- full deployment of the governor's Million Solar Roofs initiative (www.gosolarcalifornia.ca.gov/);
-- a high-speed rail;
-- water-related energy efficiency measures; and
-- a range of regulations to reduce emissions from trucks and from ships docked in California ports.
ARB is inviting public comment on the draft plan. Once the final draft is prepared, it will go to the board for consideration in November. After adoption of the plan, all of its measures will be vetted and analyzed, with full public input, over the next two years as they move through the regulatory process.
The draft plan recommends targeted fees to fund the state's long-term commitment to AB 32 administration. The draft plan can be viewed at: www.arb.ca.gov.