California Approves a Plan to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved a plan on December 11 to reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The climate change "scoping plan" is a central requirement of AB32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which was signed into law in September of that year. The plan addresses roughly 85% of the state's greenhouse gas emissions with a cap-and-trade program, which will be developed in conjunction with the Western Climate Initiative (WCI). The WCI comprises seven Western states and four Canadian provinces that have committed to cap their emissions and create a regional carbon market. But the plan also includes a variety of measures that will help that cap-and-trade program succeed, while also addressing emissions not included in the program. The CARB now faces the task of developing detailed strategies to implement all of the recommended measures that must be in place by 2012.
Most of those measures relate to energy efficiency and renewable energy, including strategies to enhance and expand the state's energy efficiency programs; implement the state's clean cars standards; increase the state's use of renewable energy; and implement a low-carbon fuel standard to reduce the impacts on climate change from the fuels used in the state. The plan also 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, such as refrigerants and other industrial gases. See the CARB press release and the scoping plan.