CARB's 2017 Climate Change Scoping Plan Update Issued.

On January 20, 2017, the California Air Resources Board issued the 2017 Climate Change Scoping Plan Update ("Scoping Plan Update"). The Scoping Plan Update proposes a wide-ranging “framework of action” to achieve the 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to the 1990 levels target set forth in Senate Bill (“SB”) 32 (Pavley). The Scoping Plan Update is not a regulatory document, but is rather a high level policy document that will set the policies and priorities to achieve the 2030 target.

Of the scenarios examined in the Scoping Plan Update, CARB’s Proposed Plan contains two key components: (1) the continuation of the California's Cap-and Trade Program and (2) a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the refinery sector. These two key components would complement existing laws and policies that will support attainment of the 2030 target.

The continuation of the State’s Cap-and Trade Program would extend the existing program post-2020, but potentially incorporate changes to the program “that would support greater direct GHG emissions reductions at Cap-and-Trade Program covered entities.” Such changes may include reduction of the offset usage limits and redesign of the allocation strategy, which would substantially reduce free allocation to all sectors in order to support increased technology and energy investment at covered entities. The changes would also include reductions to a covered entity’s allocation if criteria or toxics emissions are increased over a set baseline.

The 20 percent GHG reduction by the refinery sector would be achieved through efficiency measures imposed on individual refineries, such as fuel switching, boiler electrification, and any other process efficiencies identified in consultation with local air districts and CARB. Refineries would be required to “achieve the benchmark of the most efficient existing refinery on a simple barrel basis” by 2030.

In addition to the Proposed Plan, the Scoping Plan Update identifies recommendations for “additional climate policy steps” targeting the following sectors to further California climate goals:

  • Energy Sector;
  • Transportation Sector;
  • Industry Sector;
  • Water Sector;
  • Waste Management;
  • Agriculture; and
  • Natural and Working Lands.

In-depth summaries of the recommendations for each sector will be provided in subsequent blog posts.

CARB hosted the first in a series of public meetings in Sacramento to discuss the Scoping Plan Update on January 27. The remaining dates in the series are:

  • February 16 and 17, 2017, 9:00am; and
  • April 27 and 28, 2017, 9:00am.

Comments on the Scoping Plan Update and draft environmental assessment may be submitted through March 6, 2017.

Posted by: Brian Biering and Samantha Neumyer