California Releases Plans to Cut its Greenhouse Emissions
Three California agencies have proposed plans to reduce the state's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The emissions cuts are required by AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which requires the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to develop a plan to meet the cuts. CARB's proposed plan, released in mid-October, relies heavily on a cap-and-trade program, which covers 85% of the state's GHG emissions. That program will be developed in conjunction with the Western Climate Initiative, which includes seven states and four Canadian provinces. To spur emissions cuts, CARB proposes an increased use of renewable energy, expanded energy efficiency programs, the implementation of California's clean cars standards, and a low-carbon fuel standard. Other measures include the full deployment of the California Solar Initiative, as well as high-speed rail, water efficiency programs, regulations to reduce emissions at ports, and efforts to reduce GHG emissions that aren't related to energy. See the CARB press release.
Meanwhile, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the California Energy Commission have adopted their recommendations on how to cut the state's GHG emissions. The recommendations call for the state to pursue all cost-effective energy efficiency measures, including more stringent building and appliance standards, as well as a requirement for utilities to draw on renewable power for 33% of their electricity sales. The recommendations also note the need to encourage combined heat and power systems. Regarding the cap-and-trade program, the recommendations call for all emissions allowances to be auctioned off by 2016, with the auction revenues used for renewable energy, energy efficiency, new energy technology, infrastructure improvements, and customer bill relief. See the CPUC press release.