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Air QualityCalifornia’s Secret Weapon: The Scoping Plan

California’s Secret Weapon: The Scoping Plan

California’s Secret Weapon: The Scoping Plan

There’s no substitute for a comprehensive policy vision.

The scoping process has been key to California’s success in cutting greenhouse gas emissions.  The method requires the federal government to evaluate past progress, project future emissions, and provide you with a method to fulfill its climate goals.  In contrast, in lots of states – and on the federal level – there’s no real mechanism for a comprehensive have a look at climate policy.  The State of Latest York most recently adopted the scoping process as a part of an aggressive recent scheme to chop greenhouse gas emissions.

Without such a comprehensive process, there’s no way for the federal government to know whether it’s heading in the right direction at any given time to fulfill its goals, how its strategy is impacting the economy, or how well it’s meeting other goals like equity toward disadvantaged communities. It’s also difficult to be sure that the fitting steps are being taken at the fitting time – as an example, when there’s a surge in electric vehicles, that there might be enough charging stations and enough renewable energy to maintain them going.

The rest of the post will take a better have a look at the scoping process and at the present round of planning.  Latest York has adopted an identical system, and it’s something that other states should really consider as well.

The Planning Process

AB 32 requires the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to do a scoping plan every five years, and CARB is now on its third iteration. The aim of the plan is to “make sure the greenhouse gas emissions reduction activities to be adopted and implemented by the state board are complementary, nonduplicative, and may be implemented in an efficient and cost-effective manner.”

The statute imposes several procedural requirements: all agencies having jurisdiction over emission-producing activities have to be consulted; the agency must consider the advantages and costs of various methods of emission reduction “one of the best available economic models, emission estimation techniques, and other scientific methods;” the agency must seek the advice of an environmental justice committee; and the agency has to conduct workshops across the state, including disadvantaged communities. AB32 then provides an in depth list of things that the board must consider in crafting regulation to implement the plan.

A 2015 law, AB197, requires that the scoping plan discuss the next for every emission reduction measure:

(a) The range of projected greenhouse gas emissions reductions that result from the measure.

 (b) The range of projected air pollution reductions that result from the measure.

(c) The associated fee-effectiveness, including avoided social costs, of the measure.

The 2012 scoping plan was challenged in court but upheld due to painstaking process that the Board had followed. The court noted that the Scoping Plan was adopted through an “extensive and rigorous” process that involved over 250 public workshops and 350 community meetings, in addition to input from specialized committees, academic peer review, and public comment from greater than 42,000 people. The court due to this fact concluded that the Scoping Plan appropriately reflected “sound judgment based on substantial evidence” and was in compliance with AB 32.

The 2022 Revision

In its latest iteration, agency staff considered 4 scenarios (really, packages of strategies) and chosen one which was fairly aggressive but reasonably costly. The primary two scenarios were probably the most aggressive, aimed toward carbon neutrality by 2035. The fourth was the least aggressive. The staff really helpful the third scenario because the Goldilocks strategy, stringent but not too stringent to be feasible.

The agency described the scenarios as follows:

“The primary two scenarios would theoretically achieve carbon neutrality by 2035 and scenarios three and 4 hit that concentrate on no later than 2045.  While the Alternative 1 scenario had the best public health profit, it was economically and technically infeasible resulting from the present lack of low-carbon energy infrastructure, unavailability of technology, large job loss and high implementation costs.

“Alternatives 2 & 3 had similar public health advantages, but Alternative 2 had the second highest job losses and implementation costs. Alternative 3 has the bottom implementation costs and minimal reduction in job growth.  It also reduces GHG emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Alternative 4 had lower health advantages than Alternative 3 and the third highest implementation and employment costs.”

The agency’s preliminary decision was that Alternative 3 hit the sweet spot: rigorous enough to fulfill Californias ambitious goals, but prudent enough to avoid unreasonable costs. Whether or not this was the fitting decision, it was surely higher to think about strategies as an entire reasonably than fighting the identical battles over and another time as specific measures were considered.



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