Advocacy at the California Air Resources Board (CARB)

Part 3 CA State Code

California’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) requires close collaboration by the Air Resources Board, Public Utilities Commission, Energy Commission, and Independent System Operator to implement the reduction of greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions in order to obtain 100% of the state’s electricity from zero-carbon sources by 2045. CEERT’s Climate Program works to strengthen CARB’s GHG Scoping Plan and to lower the current target for GHG emissions.

Recent Developments:

CEERT has joined with other NGOs in advocating for the lowest feasible greenhouse-gas (GHG) target for the power sector in CARB’s Scoping Plan Update. With the recent release of a very disappointing draft, which will be considered at the next CARB meeting, we are working with our allies to strengthen the Plan.

Among the critical errors in the draft scoping plan are: the failure of CARB staff to acknowledge or recognize the need for limiting the plan’s reliance on cap-and-trade allowances, which are abundant and keeping allowance prices so low it is unlikely there will be an economic incentive for reducing emissions; the reliance on flawed assumptions in E3’s Resolve Capacity Expansion Model, which says we need to build new gas plants, and fails to recognize the sharp increases in gas prices and the impacts on rates; and a delay in the accelerated building of clean energy projects, in favor of trying to deploy carbon capture and sequestration to provide alternative carbon neutrality. We are working to lobby the Administration, developing a communications strategy, and planning to participate in the upcoming CARB hearing. In addition, we have been working to support a strong candidate to succeed retiring CARB Executive Officer Richard Corey. Stay tuned.

CEERT’s Mark Hanin has been tracking the public workshops for the Scoping Plan Update, and notes that the Plan’s draft heavily relies on carbon dioxide removal (CDR) in all of its alternative scenarios, given that staff view the process as a net benefit for economic growth. However, the scenarios also do discuss the need for more significant amounts of clean energy resources. Alternative 1 calls for building 124 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy, 56 GW of battery storage and 26 GW of hydrogen fuel storage, and all the other alternative scenarios intend to meet a target of “100% clean retail energy sales” by 2035.

Mark reports that Sierra Club will be conducting outreach efforts to get more individuals to provide feedback on the Scoping Plan at the CARB Board’s April 28 meeting, and that various Environmental Justice Advisory Committees have sent a letter to CARB Chair Liane Randolph urging that the Scoping Plan conduct a robust public health equity analysis, prioritize direct emission reductions at the source, minimize reliance on climate policy dead ends, and invest in equitable community-driven solutions.