On December 15, 2022, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved the final proposal of the 2022 Scoping Plan — a world-leading roadmap to address climate change which will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent and achieve carbon neutrality in 2045.
According to a CARB press release, the 2022 Scoping Plan provides a detailed sector-by-sector roadmap to guide the world’s fourth-largest economy away from its current dependence on petroleum and fossil gas to clean and renewable energy resources and zero-emission vehicles.
“The plan draws on and continues several successful climate programs currently in effect but also stresses the need to radically accelerate and increase their pace and scale,” CARB stated in their press release. “This includes the need for an accelerated target of a 48 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by the end of this decade.”
By 2045, this economy-wide shift away from fossil fuels seeks to:
- Reduce fossil fuel consumption (liquid petroleum) to less than one-tenth of what is used today – a 94 percent reduction in demand.
- Cut greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent, below 1990 levels.
- Reduce smog-forming air pollution by 71 percent.
- Create four million new jobs.
- Save Californians $200 billion in health costs due to pollution in 2045
“Implementing this plan will achieve deep decarbonization of our entire economy, protect public health, provide a solid foundation for continued economic growth, and drastically reduce the state’s dependence on fossil fuel combustion. It will clear the air in our hardest-hit communities,” said CARB Chair Liane Randolph.
The 2022 Scoping Plan includes a commitment to build no new fossil gas-fired power plants and increases support for mass transit. It also calls for a multi-agency process to ensure that the transition away from oil extraction and refining is equitable.
The plan’s transition away from fossil fuel combustion will benefit residents of the state’s most impacted communities who are disproportionately burdened by pollution from the transportation sector. It also responds to concerns raised by leaders from those communities, including members of the Environmental Justice Advisory Committee (EJAC).
“Now begins the hard work of putting the plan into action. The impacts of climate change in California are personal: we have all been affected by wildfires, years of drought, or record-breaking heat waves. Making this plan work is our once-in-a-generation opportunity to change the California our children inherit for the better,” Randolph continued. “To reach carbon neutrality in less than a quarter of a century will require all levels of government, all stakeholders – indeed, everyone in the Golden State to be part of the solution. There is no time to waste.”
Additionally, the 2022 Scoping Plan includes actions to capture and store carbon through the state’s natural and working lands — including forests — and calls upon a variety of mechanical approaches to remove and safely store carbon dioxide to address the remaining 15 percent of greenhouse gas emissions that will remain in 2045.
The availability of unprecedented state and federal investments will help propel this plan into action to address climate change and, according to CARB, the plan’s guidance will allow California to effectively and equitably build a better future for Californians through climate action.
“Implementation of the plan keeps California economy on track for continued growth of the economy and jobs. This includes high-road jobs tied to industries such as zero-emission car and truck manufacturing that position California as a major competitor in the global clean-energy marketplace. Economic modeling indicates that, under the plan, California’s economy will reach $5.1 trillion by 2045 (from $3.2 trillion today), with a related increase of at least four million new jobs,” CARB’s press release stated.
Additionally, the plan provides the Climate Vulnerability Metric, a new tool to identify communities especially vulnerable to harm from a changing climate and worsening air quality, ensuring that those communities’ public health and environmental concerns are front-and-center as the state moves ahead.
“Finalizing this plan is only the first step. Hitting the targets in the plan requires program implementation and infrastructure buildout on a very ambitious timeline. This will require collaboration across state agencies and local governments, along with the full participation of all stakeholders,” said CARB.