The California Air Resources Board’s roadmap puts the state on a path to achieving ‘carbon neutrality’ by 2045, which means as much carbon is removed from the air as is issued. The state’s schedule is among the most ambitious in the country; Hawaii has a similar goal and some other states have a 2050 deadline.
California could achieve its goals through a radical shift away from the fossil fuels that power cars, trucks, planes, ships, homes, businesses and other sectors of the economy. Board staff recommends the state reduce oil and gas use by 91% by 2045 and use technology to capture and store carbon emissions from the remaining sources.
The plan was developed by Air Board staff and is not final; a public consultation process will begin and the political appointees who make up the Air Council will ultimately decide whether any changes should be made. The Legislative Assembly or other regulatory bodies should agree to implement the various policies. The California Energy Commission, for example, sets building codes.
Still, state officials said the document represents an important milestone for California and the rest of the nation. California is the most populous state in the country and has the fifth largest economy in the world compared to other nations. This economic might means that the state’s policy choices can drive major business shifts, and other states often follow California’s lead when it comes to climate policy.
“Once finalized, this plan will serve as a model for other industrial economies around the world,” said Jared Blumenfeld, secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency.
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But neither environmental justice advocates nor the oil industry were satisfied. Environmental groups have blasted the plan for its reliance on carbon capture technologies, which they say allow oil refineries, cement plants and other industries to continue polluting in poor neighborhoods. They also pointed to a low-rated element of the plan that calls for the expansion of natural gas capacity as an air board failure.
“At a time when we need to plan for a fossil fuel phase-out, our top air regulators are instead planning a massive expansion of dirty gas-fired power plants,” Ari Eisenstadt, campaign manager for Regenerate California, said in a statement. . . The group is a partnership between the California Environmental Justice Alliance and the Sierra Club advocating for clean energy.
The Western States Petroleum Association, meanwhile, decried the plan would mean more “bans, mandates and costly regulations.”
“Forcing people to choose certain jobs, certain cars, certain homes and certain times to use energy is disconnected from the way ordinary people live,” WSPA President Catherine Reheis-Boyd said in a statement. communicated.
Changing the way buildings and transportation are powered is central to the air board’s plan. He suggests that the state require all new homes to have electric appliances starting in 2026 and new businesses by 2029. For existing homes, 80% of appliance sales should be electric by 2029. 2030 and 100% by 2035. This would help transition older homes to electricity. -powered devices when owners need to upgrade.
Transportation, meanwhile, is the state’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. The state is already on track to require all new passenger cars sold to be zero emissions by 2035. The plan also recommends: All truck sales must be zero emissions by 2040, 10% of Aircraft fuel needs must be met with hydrogen or batteries. by 2045, 100% of drayage trucks will be zero emissions by 2035 and 100% of passenger train sales will be zero emissions by 2030.
The plan would create significant new demand on the electric grid, requiring the state to rapidly expand solar and storage options, as well as hydrogen infrastructure, including pipelines.
California’s 2045 carbon neutral goal stems from an executive order at the time. Jerry Brown signed on in 2018. But the air commission has been required to release a roadmap to meet state climate goals every five years since 2008.
The latest version of the plan explored how California will meet a state law requiring a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2030. Some observers of the process had called for a in-depth analysis of the state’s progress toward the 2030 goal, including the role that California’s flagship cap-and-trade program was meant to play.
But the more than 200-page document released Tuesday includes only a small section on the state’s progress toward 2030 and does not directly state the level of emissions reductions expected from the various programs the state has already put in place. square. It indicates that the role of cap and trade in achieving state objectives will likely diminish. The program requires companies to purchase credits equal to the amount of carbon they wish to emit, with the aim of spurring reductions over time as the price of the credits rises.
The Air Board will not assess whether any changes are needed to meet the 2030 target until the scoping plan is complete, according to the plan.
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