California's plan to fight climate change will also help grow economy
Proposed Scoping Plan sets California on course for a clean-energy future
SACRAMENTO: The California Air Resources Board today released its proposed plan to reduce California's greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The plan is slated to go before the Board for approval at its December meeting.
“Today marks another step forward in California’s fight against global warming. This plan is good for the environment and public health, and it sets California on a course toward a more secure and sustainable economy,” said Mary Nichols, Chairman of ARB. “Our comprehensive approach steers California away from its dependence on fossil fuels and accelerates the state’s necessary transition toward a clean-energy future.”
The plan constitutes the cornerstone of a concerted effort by the Schwarzenegger administration to address climate change. This includes SB 375 (Steinberg), a bill that promotes smart growth and provides incentives for creating attractive, walkable and sustainable communities and revitalizing existing communities. Another climate change initiative is AB 3018 (Nunez), a bill that establishes the Green Collar Jobs Council to develop a comprehensive array of programs, strategies and resources to address the workforce needs that will accompany California’s growing green economy. Governor Schwarzenegger signed both bills last week.
Nichols added that the state’s coordinated approach “serves as an example for the nation in forward thinking about our economic future. California’s plan will drive innovation, create thousands of new jobs, and provide a wealth of opportunities for California to export technology and help fight global warming around the world.”
Development of the Scoping Plan is a central requirement of AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (Nuñez, Pavley), that calls on California to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Governor Schwarzenegger signed the bill into law in September 2006.
In June, the Air Resources Board released its Draft Scoping Plan. The proposed plan released today reflects additional analysis, and public input that ARB has received over the past several months. The plan is built on the principle that a balanced mix of strategies is the best way to cut emissions and grow the economy in a clean and sustainable direction.
An important component of the 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 which recently released its own proposed design structure, encompassing seven states and four Canadian provinces that have committed to cap their emissions and create a regional carbon market.
Additional key recommendations of the plan include strategies to enhance and expand California’s proven cost-saving energy efficiency programs; implementation of California’s clean cars standards; increases in the amount of clean and renewable energy used to power the state; and, implementation of a low carbon fuel standard that will make the fuels used in California cleaner.
The plan proposes full deployment of the California Solar Initiative, 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. There are also measures designed to safely reduce or recover a range of very potent greenhouse gases — refrigerants and other industrial gases — that contribute to global warming at a level many times greater per ton emitted than carbon dioxide.
Other measures include a ‘margin of safety’ — a new feature that provides additional reductions to account for measures in uncapped sectors that do not, or may not, achieve the estimated emission reductions in this plan.
The plan also includes an emphasis on efforts to enable small business to participate in the benefits of the plan and expanded discussions on public health, green buildings, offsets, the Zero Emissions Vehicle program and international initiatives.
The plan recommends targeted fees to fund the state's long-term commitment to AB 32 administration.
Following approval of the plan by the Board in December, the ARB will begin developing detailed strategies to implement all of the recommended measures.
The Proposed Scoping Plan and all appendices can be viewed at: www.arb.ca.gov
The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.