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:

During the fall of 2022, V. John White attended all the public hearings and listening-session work-shops on the CARB Scoping Plan, and made public comments at many of the meetings, emphasizing the need to true up energy-sector modeling assumptions to better reflect the value of expanded clean energy development, and minimize the need for new natural gas plants. He also stressed the importance of CARB focusing on implementation strategies for its Scoping Plan, instead of simply relying on modeling assumptions and hopeful expectations.

John and CEERT graduate fellow Mark Hanin attended the CARB Board meeting on December 15-16 at which the Board approved the final draft of the 2022 Scoping Plan. Mark also monitored the monthly calls of the Scoping Plan Working Group, and took note of members’ opinions about the Scoping Plan and the initiatives that the Working Group sought to accomplish as part of advocacy efforts to ensure adoption of an effective Scoping Plan.

The final Scoping Plan included many improvements, which included eliminating proposed new gas-fired power plants, incorporating the Governor’s ambitious offshore wind goals, and making a greater commitment to reducing vehicle miles traveled.

During the December 15-16 CARB Board meeting, several stakeholders were critical of the modeling behind the Scoping Plan. Parties suggested that an interagency task force including CARB Chair Liane Randolph be created to ensure that the Scoping Plan remains on track to fulfill its goals.

There were concerns that further work needs to be done on Vehicle Miles Traveled, and that a conversation on Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) was warranted. The Working Group drafted a letter to the U.S. Department of Energy conveying its uncertainty about CCS as a viable strategy to combat climate change. The letter highlighted how communities, particularly in the San Joaquin Valley, bear some of the nation’s most burdensome impacts of climate change. The Working Group undertook several other initiatives to convey the difficulties behind relying on CCS: drafting an op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle, developing a social media package to raise awareness on concerns with CCS, and corresponding with CARB, local media, and the Governor’s Office. CCS will continue to be a point of contention among stakeholders as the Scoping Plan is implemented and the work begins toward attaining carbon neutrality in California by 2045.