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 graduate fellow Mark Hanin reports that CARB staff hosted multiple workshops this past quarter on implementing the goals of their 2022 Scoping Plan.

The charter for the Environmental Justice Advisory Committee has been approved, and the CARB Board will hold a joint meeting with the EJAC Committee on September 14 to continue the conversation on the Scoping Plan. In its monthly calls, the Scoping Plan Working Group has discussed renaming the coalition to emphasize the advancement of climate ambition, climate justice, and climate accountability.

Part of CARB’s Scoping Plan strategy is promoting appliance standards that require sales of new space and water heaters to be zero-emission by 2030, with staff evaluating the available technology and market for zero-emission appliances and the readiness of buildings to accommodate those appliances. Staff expect a regulatory package on appliance standards to receive final Board approval by 2026.

CARB discussed its Low Carbon Fuel Standards (LCFS) strategy to meet the carbon neutrality and GHG reduction goals of the Scoping Plan by crediting direct air capture, providing funds for vehicle rebates, and establishing an annual, declining carbon intensity target for transportation fuels used in California. Staff has proposed updated LCFS regulations, and expects the Board to adapt its proposal in early 2024. EJAC members have pushed to focus on LCFS after CARB confirmed that it will not engage in any further remodeling of the strategy.

CARB expects to deliver its Standardized Regulatory Impact Assessment (SRIA) on the Scoping Plan to the Department of Finance. Coalition members are engaging with CARB Board members to advocate on what needs to be included in the SRIA, and are pressing for legislators to sign onto a letter by Senator Allen to CARB expressing members’ concerns.

CARB has been designated, instead of the CAL EPA, as the convener for the interagency task force on ending oil extraction and refining.

In an important development noted in a recent Sacramento Bee article, CARB staff have determined that the Scoping Plan’s overreliance on carbon capture and storage technologies would not enable achievement of California’s 2030 climate goals, and that additional emission reduction measures, including tightening cap-and-trade limits, will be needed.