Climate 411

With one week to act, California needs to pass these policies to drive climate progress and protect communities

This post was co-authored by Caroline Jones, Analyst for U.S. Climate

photo of a wind farm in a western landscape

Photo Credit: Pixabay

The heat is on in Sacramento.

With less than a week left in the California State Legislature’s session (which ends on August 31), a set of potentially game-changing climate policies are on the table. Earlier this month, Governor Newsom released a series of proposals for the legislature, including a more ambitious goal for cutting climate pollution by 2030, codifying a carbon neutrality goal, interim clean electricity targets, safeguards from the health impacts caused by oil and gas drilling and providing direction on the use of carbon capture and sequestration — all of which are now being negotiated in Sacramento.

This push arrives amid a grueling year for climate change-fueled impacts across the state, with wildfires, heat waves and the worst megadrought the West has seen in over 1,000 years all underscoring the urgency for bold action. And with the new, massive down payment on climate and clean energy through the Inflation Reduction Act, California will have even more tools and investments available to drive down climate pollution further and faster.

Here are the key policies that can drive meaningful climate progress and protect communities — and need to pass the finish line by the end of the session.

Read More »

Also posted in Cities and states, News, Policy / Read 1 Response

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.

Read More »

Also posted in Cars and Pollution / Read 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.

Read More »

Also posted in Greenhouse Gas Emissions / 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.

Read More »

Also posted in Greenhouse Gas Emissions / Read 1 Response

May brings another record auction for the Western Climate Initiative, as California considers how to ramp up climate action

Results of the May Western Climate Initiative auction were released today, and again they demonstrate strong demand for allowances and generate revenue that will deliver meaningful investments for California communities. Earlier this month, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) also outlined the role of its cap-and-trade program in its draft Scoping Plan, which intends to chart the path to California’s 2030 and 2045 climate targets. However, there is major room for improvement: CARB needs to do more to ensure the emissions cap is an effective backstop and can provide certainty of near-term emission reductions.

Read More »

Also posted in Carbon Markets, Greenhouse Gas Emissions / Comments are closed

The scoop on the Scoping Plan: California’s draft plan misses the opportunity for greater climate ambition (Part 1)

This post was co-authored by Katelyn Roedner Sutter, Senior Manager for U.S. Climate at EDF.

solar array in California

Photo Credit: Tom Brewster photography for the Bureau of Land Management.

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.

California has long been known as a global climate leader, but that title has to be constantly re-earned as the climate crisis accelerates and new leaders raise the bar. The state’s Scoping Plan, which is updated every five years, presents a major opportunity to re-evaluate its strategies to drive down climate pollution based on the latest science, policy and technological developments.

Read More »

Also posted in Carbon Markets, Cities and states / Read 1 Response