CARB Releases 2022 Scoping Plan Update
On December 15, 2022, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved its Final 2022 Scoping Plan Update (Scoping Plan or Plan). The Scoping Plan lays out the path for the State to achieve targets for carbon neutrality by 2045 and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 85% below 1990 levels by 2045 in accordance with AB 1279.
The Scoping Plan identifies measures for cutting GHG emissions and reducing the utilization of fossil fuels within California, transitioning to zero-emission transportation, and phasing out the use of petroleum and fossil gas used for heating homes and buildings. It also sets a more aggressive goal to reduce carbon emissions by 48% below 1990 levels in 2030 – this represents an 8% increase from the current SB 32 target of a 40% reduction.
The Plan stresses that local government action and leadership is critical to implementing the State’s climate goals. The Plan focuses on local GHG reduction strategies (commonly referred to as climate action planning) and local approval of new land use development projects, including through environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
The Plan encourages local jurisdictions to: (1) develop climate action plans, sustainability plans, or GHG reduction plans; (2) establish GHG reduction targets; (3) implement mitigation to reduce GHG emissions associated with CEQA projects (whether local, off-site mitigation or carbon offset credits), and (4) leverage regional collaboration to enhance the effectiveness of local climate action and overcome barriers to CEQA GHG mitigation. The Plan identifies three priority areas for local governments as they develop their local climate plans, measures, policies, and actions. Those priority areas include electrification of transportation, reducing vehicle miles travelled (VMT) and decarbonization of buildings. The Plan compiles a non-exhaustive list of impactful GHG reduction strategies that local jurisdictions may implement.
To address all remaining GHG emissions that cannot be completely eliminated, the Plan contemplates both carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) projects as well as mechanical and nature-based carbon removal systems. The Plan also highlights direct air capture projects where CO2 is removed from the ambient air through different mechanical technologies, such as chemical scrubbing and mineral carbonation, or natural processes.
Now that CARB has unanimously approved the Scoping Plan, it is expected that CARB and other agencies will begin to adopt rules that implement specific components of the Plan in moving toward the 2045 neutrality goal. The full 2022 Scoping Plan Document and more information can be found by clicking here.
The Plan is important to local public agencies. It will guide agencies in climate action planning, analyzing GHG emissions in CEQA documents, and mitigating such impacts.
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