California Air Resource Board’s 2022 Scoping Plan Update and State SIP Strategy

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is currently in the planning stages for drafting its 2022 Scoping Plan Update, which will assess the State’s progress towards meeting its target of reducing statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 40 percent below the 1990 levels by 2030, and lay out a path to achieving carbon neutrality no later than 2045.

The AB 32 Climate Change Scoping Plan is a high-level strategic planning document designed not to set specific policies, but to provide guidance to other State agencies and the Legislature in the creation of climate policies. The first Scoping Plan was released in 2008 and it is statutorily mandated to be updated at least every five years. In the Scoping Plan, CARB is tasked by the Legislature with planning to achieve the “maximum technologically feasible and cost-effective reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”

In addition to assessing progress toward the 2030 goal and creating a roadmap for California to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045, CARB’s other stated goals for this year’s Scoping Plan Update include:

  • Identify endpoints for transition that support near term air quality benefits and long term GHG benefits as well as technology and fuel deployment paths to strive for those endpoints;
  • Reduce short-lived climate pollutants;
  • Move toward decarbonizing electricity;
  • Reduce petroleum use in vehicles;
  • Reduce industrial emissions;
  • Incorporate natural and working lands into California’s climate goals;
  • Set carbon dioxide removal targets.

During the Scoping Plan process, CARB works together with its Environmental Justice Advisory Committee (EJAC), an advisory group assembled to recommend just transition and energy policies that are designed to benefit low-income and pollution-burdened communities across the State.

Thus far, CARB has hosted multiple workshops on various aspects of the 2022 Scoping Plan Update, beginning in the summer of 2021. A Draft Scoping Plan is scheduled to be released in May 2022 with the Final Scoping Plan on track to be presented to the Board for approval in late fall 2022. The current EJAC has been advocating for a six-month to one-year extension of this year’s Scoping Plan timeline, in order to allow time for more thorough community engagement and public health analyses. These requests have been informally turned down by the Board for the sake of completing the Scoping Plan expeditiously and complying with the statutory deadline, though the Board has not officially voted on an extension request by the EJAC. The text of AB 32 states that the Governor may adjust the deadline in the event of extraordinary circumstances, though an extension for the 2022 Scoping Plan Update is unlikely.

The next step in the Scoping Plan Update planning process will be a joint meeting to be held with the CARB Board and the EJAC on March 10, 2022. In addition, CARB will be releasing the Pathways modeling that will compare the relative cost effectiveness of various greenhouse gas reduction strategies. The Pathways modeling results will be published in April and a draft Scoping Plan will be published in May 2022.

Contact: Brian Biering