Climate 411

The scoop on the Scoping Plan: CARB is not on track to achieve a zero-emission transportation sector (Part 4)

This post was co-authored by Sam Becker, Electric Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicle Advocate, and Lauren Navarro, Senior Manager, Regulatory and Legislative Affairs.

Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles

In May, the California Air Resources Board released the draft 2022 Climate Change Scoping Plan, a roadmap that will guide the state toward meeting its 2030 emissions target and achieving net-zero emissions no later than 2045. This four-part series will unpack several key aspects of the plan and evaluate whether they raise California’s climate ambition to the levels needed to protect communities from the worst climate impacts.

CARB’s draft Scoping Plan represents a significant opportunity for the state to reassess its methods for reducing climate and air pollution from the transportation sector. The recently released draft, however, undermines the state’s efforts to achieve a key climate goal outlined in Gov. Newsom’s executive order, which calls for 100% of medium- and heavy-duty trucks on the road to be zero-emission vehicles by 2045 everywhere feasible.

Statewide, about 12 million Californians live in communities that exceed the federal ozone or PM2.5 standards. Transportation generates nearly half of the state’s climate pollution and is the state’s largest producer of health-harming nitrogen oxide emissions and toxic diesel particulate pollution.

To chart an equity-focused path toward achieving net-zero emissions and ensure needed near-term ambition in the transportation sector, CARB’s Scoping Plan must rapidly eliminate emissions from the transportation sector by attaining 100% MHD ZEV sales by 2035.

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Posted in California, Cars and Pollution / 1 Response

The scoop on the Scoping Plan: California’s plan relies too heavily on emerging technologies (Part 3)

This post was co-authored by Caroline Jones, analyst for U.S. Climate, and Katie Schneer, High Meadows fellow for subnational climate policy.

Industry

Photo credit: pexels

In May, the California Air Resources Board released the draft 2022 Climate Change Scoping Plan, a roadmap that will guide the state toward meeting its 2030 emissions target and achieving net-zero emissions no later than 2045. This four-part series will unpack several key aspects of the plan and evaluate whether they raise California’s climate ambition to the levels needed to protect communities from the worst climate impacts.

While California already has most of the tools it needs to meet its climate goals, there are still hard-to-tackle areas of the economy – like industry – that will demand new climate solutions not yet widely available on the market. This is where newer technologies like hydrogen and carbon capture & sequestration (CCS) may help address those emissions. Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) is another solution needed to address legacy carbon pollution in the atmosphere, but all of these approaches need more innovation investment now to reach scale safely, affordably and reliably.

Currently, CARB is over-relying on these emerging solutions for critical emission reductions and removals in California’s Draft Climate Change Scoping Plan, rather than maximizing proven solutions we have right now – like reducing more pollution from the power and transportation sectors, and tightening the state’s cap on emissions. As a result, this strategy leaves reductions in climate pollution that can and should be achieved this decade up to chance. And as we’ve explained in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, near-term ambition is essential for minimizing the most devastating climate damages in the long run, like wildfires and droughts.

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Posted in California, Greenhouse Gas Emissions / Leave a comment

How RGGI cuts carbon and costs

This summer, electricity bills across the U.S. are poised to climb higher as a consequence of volatile fossil fuel costs and climate change impacts like extreme heat.

Rising natural gas prices, affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, are expected to drive up costs in the U.S., including in places like Pennsylvania and Virginia where a significant number of households and businesses are reliant on natural gas for electricity. On top of this, extreme heat around the country is expected to drive up demand as people work to cool down with more air-conditioning use while heat, storms and other climate change-fueled impacts continue to increase the risk of blackouts.

In short, this summer is showing us the value of moving toward a clean, reliable and resilient power sector. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a market-based, multi-state climate program throughout the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, has been driving progress on a cleaner power sector for over a decade now. Since the program began in 2008, RGGI states have reduced carbon pollution from power plants by over 50% and increased renewable energy generation by 73%.

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Posted in Carbon Markets, Cities and states, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, News / Leave a comment

Our New Electric Resilience Toolkit: Resources to Enhance Climate Resilience Planning by Electric Utilities

This post was co-authored by EDF’s Michael Panfil and Romany Webb of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School

Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Environmental Defense Fund, and the Initiative on Climate Risk and Resilience Law have released a new Electric Resilience Toolkit to support policymakers and other people who are working on issues around electric sector regulation and climate resilience planning.

That planning is essential to ensure electricity infrastructure is designed and operated in a way that accounts for the impacts of climate change — impacts that are already being felt and which will only intensify in coming years.

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Posted in Energy, News, Partners for Change / Comments are closed

The scoop on the Scoping Plan: California’s plan falls short in ensuring equitable access to an affordable, clean and safe energy system (Part 2)

This post was authored by Michael Colvin, Director, California Energy Program at EDF.

Electricity

Photo credit: Pexels

In May, the California Air Resources Board released the draft 2022 Climate Change Scoping Plan, a roadmap that will guide the state toward meeting its 2030 emissions target and achieving net-zero emissions no later than 2045. This four-part series will unpack several key aspects of the plan and evaluate whether they raise California’s climate ambition to the levels needed to protect communities from the worst climate impacts.

The draft Scoping Plan released by CARB last month attempts to address important climate issues across many sectors in California, including equitable access to an affordable, clean, and safe energy system. As the plan appropriately notes, “a clean, affordable, and reliable electricity grid will serve as a backbone to support deep decarbonization across California’s economy.”

Unfortunately, the recommended actions for the electricity sector are insufficient. CARB needs to increase its ambition in order to fulfill the promise of an affordable, clean and reliable energy system. This includes clearly setting a goal of 0MMT or zero emissions from electricity generation no later than 2045 with direction for planning agencies to establish interim targets and front-loaded actions to measure that progress.

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Posted in California, Greenhouse Gas Emissions / Read 1 Response

Markets, stocktake, and impacts: The three issues to watch at the UN climate talks in Bonn

This post was co-authored by Julia Ilhardt, High Meadows Fellow at Environmental Defense Fund

Opening Plenary of Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), 2019 climate negotiations in Bonn, Germany. UNclimatechange via Flickr.

Next week, climate negotiators will begin two weeks of meetings in Bonn, Germany to make progress on a full slate of issues—from carbon markets and finance to adaptation and loss and damage—before November’s global climate talks.

At these mid-year negotiating sessions, negotiators will continue to elaborate rules for international carbon markets, kick off dialogues on the global stocktake, and start work on critical processes to address the impacts of the climate crisis, among other things. They will build on the work completed at COP26 in Glasgow last year, and the results will give us an indication of what the upcoming COP27 negotiations in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt will look like.

1. Elaborate rules needed to “operationalize” international carbon markets

At COP26 in Glasgow—after six years of difficult, technical negotiations—countries delivered a strong Paris Agreement rulebook for international cooperation through carbon markets. These rules will give countries the tools they need for environmental integrity and ultimately clear a path to get private capital flowing to developing countries.

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Posted in Carbon Markets, International, Paris Agreement, United Nations / Comments are closed