California Air and Climate: CARB’s Draft Scoping Plan Outlines Initiatives to Achieve the State’s Ambitious Carbon Reduction Goals

May 2022

California Air and Climate, Vol. 21

On May 10, 2022 the California Air Resources Board (“CARB”) released its Draft 2022 Scoping Plan for public comment.  The Scoping Plan is designed to be a roadmap of approaches for achieving the sate’s targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and reaching carbon neutrality by 2045.  CARB publishes Scoping Plans every five years and this is the first edition to address how the state plans to achieve carbon neutrality.  Initiatives outlined in the Scoping Plan will require substantial investment in infrastructure including funding required for the electrification of the transportation sector; production and distribution systems for green hydrogen and renewable natural gas; and additional renewable energy production.

The Scoping Plan has two key sections.  First, it envisions an aggressive reduction in greenhouse gas emissions through a steep decrease in the use of fossil fuels.  This would be accomplished through the electrification of the transportation system, including cars, buses, and trucks; the phase-out of fossil fuel natural gas for home and building heating; increases in renewable energy production to meet the state’s goal of 100 percent renewable and zero carbon by 2045; and scaling up of green hydrogen and renewable gas for end uses that are difficult to electrify.

To achieve these greenhouse gas emission reduction goals, the Scoping Plan includes a plan to increase the stringency and a broadening in scope of CARB’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard which will require significant investment in product of renewable fuels.  In addition to the Low Carbon Fuel Standard requirements, all on-road vehicle sales would transition to electric or green hydrogen.  All passenger vehicle sales will be zero emission by 2035, followed by light and heavy-duty trucks in 2040.  The Scoping Plan also finds that the transition to zero emission for offroad engines and equipment requires additional investment and development.

Coupled with the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions achieved through the decrease in fossil fuel use, the Scoping Plan outlines initiatives to increase capture and storage of carbon.  These efforts focus on management of natural and working lands to maximize storage of carbon.  Active carbon capture and sequestration from industrial sources and removing carbon directly from the air are also discussed.

The Scoping Plan outlines initiatives that will require a sharp increase in public and private investment in low carbon infrastructure to achieve California’s ambitious goals.  CARB is holding a public meeting to discuss the Scoping Plan on June 23 and will accepting comments through June 24.  More information is available here 2022 Scoping Plan Documents | California Air Resources Board.