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California’s final scoping plan sets the stage for stronger climate leadership, but next steps matter

This post is Kaitlyn Rodner SutterCalifornia Director of EDF.

sacramento city skyline

Photo credit: Canva

Last month, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released its final scoping plan after a lengthy process of drafting, workshops, modeling, and public feedback. The Scoping Plan will be reviewed and updated every five years. This is California’s roadmap to meeting its 2030 emissions goals and achieving net zero emissions by 2045 at the latest. Like a more severe fire or drought.

As the Board considers and votes on the final plan this week, there are some major wins and important next steps to highlight from the plan. Most notably, how California steps up its climate action. in the last ten years.

Preparing for greater climate ambition

When the draft plan was released this summer, EDF emphasized that the ‘final test’ of the scoping plan will depend on strengthening short-term goals. This is because the timeline for when California will reduce climate pollution is critical to the health and safety of all Californians.

When emitted, climate-warming pollutants such as CO2 It will remain in the atmosphere for centuries, exacerbating the climatic damage we are already seeing today. The longer we delay it, the more climate pollution accumulates in the atmosphere over time, making the climate even more unstable. Reducing pollution today will be more valuable than reducing it 10 years from now. This is to minimize the accumulation of contamination.

While the final plan leaves room for improvement and enhancement, the Scoping Plan is one of the state’s leading climate programs that can drive emissions progress and drive short-term reductions if properly designed. emphasize one. cap and trade programAs we wrote earlier this year, the cap-and-trade program is an important tool for accelerating short-term pollution reduction goals that are essential to meeting California’s climate goals.

Since its implementation in 2013, the program has played an important role as a backstop for California, alongside a range of other climate and clean energy policies to ensure the state achieves its climate goals on time. This is why well-designed and robust emission reduction limits give us the greatest certainty of meeting our climate change goals. As EDF has frequently insisted throughout the drafting process of this latest scoping plan, the program acts as an insurance policy. Even if other California policies fall short of their targets, lower emission limits across the economy will ensure that the necessary reductions will continue to be achieved. . CARB’s final scoping plan will take full advantage of this cap-and-trade framework, with a stronger discussion of the program’s role than previous drafts, and a cap-and-trade that will close the state’s emissions gap. We are conducting an up-to-date analysis of the role ofMeeting the statutory 2030 climate targets.

Making rules is key to turning ambition into action

Another win in the final scoping plan is CARB’s explicit commitment to assess the stringency of emissions caps in future rulemaking. With California’s new legislative goal to reach net zero and reduce emissions by 85% by 2045, the Scoping Plan models a viable path to reduce pollution by 48% by 2030 We recognize the need to step up our short-term ambition to CARB must start rulemaking quickly for the deep cuts needed by 2045 — ideally the first few months of 2023 — Readjusting emission caps to act as a backstop to meet this increased short-term goal. Contamination limits are the most important feature of the program and must be sufficiently stringent to meet the ambitions required in the final scoping plan. As CARB embarks on the cap-and-trade rulemaking process, it needs to put its climate ambition up front so states can meet their modeled 2030 goals and be on the road to net zero..

Tightening overall emissions limits is important to expand the cap-and-trade program as a backstop for climate pollution, but CARB will increase its climate ambition in future rulemaking and • Trade programs, as advocated by the Environmental Justice Advisory Committee. There are many relevant strategies to address these issues in order to improve cap-and-trade programs.

  • Introduce facility-level caps for polluters operating in vulnerable communities, resulting in direct reductions in pollution in these communities.
  • Request offset credits that can currently (to a limited extent) be used by the entity to account for emissions. under Emission limits set instead of counts In addition to allowance.
  • Implementing an Effective Emissions Control Reserve (ECR) – a mechanism that protects against long-term programmatic uncertainty by allowing the program to become more ambitious when prices fall lower than expected.

Overall, despite some remaining shortcomings, this final scoping plan gives California a solid framework to advance climate change progress in the coming decades. At the end of a lengthy drafting process, and gathering many public comments, CARB presented a strategy to establish a scoping plan as a planning document for both California’s goals and models for other states. Now the race is on to turn California’s climate plan into concrete action to reduce the pollution that drives global warming at a pace that scales to what the climate crisis demands..

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