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California releases draft plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2045

11 May 2022

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) released a draft climate plan that calls for a drastic reduction in the use of fossil fuels to achieve ‘carbon neutrality’ by 2045.

The draft 2022 Climate Change Scoping Plan is the third update to the state’s initial 2008 Scoping Plan. It identifies a path—deemed “technologically feasible, cost-effective and equity-focused”—to achieve carbon neutrality over the next two decades while also assessing the progress the State is making towards reducing its GHG emissions by at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.

Release of the draft plan triggers a formal 45-day public comment period. CARB will consider the plan in June, and is expected to finalize it at a second meeting in the Fall.

“The draft Scoping Plan sets out an ambitious vision that advances equity and addresses the existential crisis of our generation with guidance for the concrete steps and actions needed to actually make it work,” said CARB Executive Officer Richard Corey. “When final, it will serve as the actionable plan for a more sustainable California for our children and a model for other industrialized economies around the world as they consider how to make their transition to a clean energy economy that provides health benefits and economic opportunity.”

California is the fifth largest economy on the planet and the draft plan covers every sector. It calls for to reduce California reliance on fossil fuels by building on and accelerating various approaches to carbon reduction including regulations, incentives, and carbon pricing that have been in place for 15 years. At the center of this shift away from fossil fuels is an accelerated transition to zero-emission transportation, phasing out the use of fossil gas used to heat homes and buildings, and providing communities with sustainable options for walking, biking, and public transit so that people do not have to rely on cars. The plan would also strive to establish healthier forests and to deploy carbon capture and storage technologies.

The plan envisions that the electrification of the transportation sector will be supported by an acceleration of adding more renewable energy to displace fossil-fuel fired electricity generation and scaling up new options such as hydrogen and renewable gas for hard-to-electrify end uses.

The shift away from petroleum will make California more energy secure, less impacted by volatile global oil price fluctuations, and will deliver health benefits to Californians, especially those in low-income communities of color that are most impacted by air pollution from truck and car traffic and freight delivery, according to the plan.

The draft plan also predicts that the California economy will continue to “grow vigorously”, in spite of the move away from fossil energy. In 2045, the gross state product is predicted to be $5.1 trillion, nearly $2 trillion more than in 2021, allowing the addition of hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Source: CARB