USA: No new gas generating resources for California, state air board declares

The California Air Resources Board laid out the policies and actions California proposes to take to cut its use of fossil fuels and achieve carbon neutrality by 2045 or earlier. The board said the update to its scoping plan represents the “most aggressive approach to reach carbon neutrality by any jurisdiction in the world.”

Under the proposal, by 2045 California would:
• Cut greenhouse gas emissions by 85% below 1990 levels
• 71% reduction in smog-forming air pollution
• Reduce fossil fuel consumption (liquid petroleum) to less than one-tenth of what is used today – a 94% reduction in demand.

The plan includes a commitment to build no new 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.” And it calls for 20 GW of offshore wind by 2045.

The CARB Board is slated to vote on the 2022 Update to the Scoping Plan at its December 15-16 meeting. The initial draft was considered by the Board at its June meeting and with the Environmental Justice Advisory Committee in September. The final proposed plan includes changes requested by the Board and the EJAC, as well as input from Gov. Gavin Newsom. It also reflects direction from new state laws passed by the Legislature this year.

The final modeling for the Scoping Plan projects a 48% reduction of greenhouse gases below 1990 levels in 2030. That would surpass the state’s statutory mandate to reduce emissions 40% below 1990 levels in 2030.

The updated modeling also includes 3 million “climate-friendly” homes by 2030 (and 7 million by 2035), 6 million heat pumps deployed by 2030, no new fossil gas capacity in the electricity sector, and 20 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2045. The plan also provides the Climate Vulnerability Metric, a 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 considered as the state moves ahead.