The California Air Resources Board (ARB) today released the first update to its Scoping Plan, the document that shows how it has met and will continue to meet the goals mandated by AB 32, California's landmark climate change legislation. According to ARB, the state is well on its way to succeeding at reaching those goals as well as ensuring economic growth at the same time.
The Update builds upon already successful programs that were first outlined in 2008 and have since lowered the state's carbon intensity. ARB stated that the amount of carbon emissions related to the state's economy has dropped, even though economic growth outpaces most other states and the national average.
The updated plan is comprised of a comprehensive approach that enlists the efforts from multiple state agencies. As a result, emission reductions from the energy and transportation sectors will continue to be reduced. In addition, the plan identifies roles for the state's water, agriculture, forestry, and natural resources sectors. These roles will not only reduce their associated greenhouse gas emissions, but also will strengthen them against the adverse effects of climate change.
The update sets forth emission reduction goals for all sectors, including waste management, green buildings, and transportation, paying particular attention to freight and goods movement. Additionally, the plan will fast-track the reduction of what ARB describes as "short-lived climate pollutants" such as black carbon and methane. Reduction of these pollutants will show significant public health results in the very near-term.
ARB's data and projections show that emissions from cars will continue to decline due to ever increasing numbers of cleaner, fuel efficient vehicles and higher volumes of clean fuels. ARB stated that as a result of AB32 programs, fuel costs for California drivers are being reduced and that by 2020, they will be paying about 30 percent less on fuel than in 2012 and emit 30 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
"California has shown that we can grow our economy more efficiently with less carbon emitted into the atmosphere. We now get twice as much production from a ton of greenhouse gases as the rest of the country, and we know we can do more," said California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary D. Nichols. “The Update builds on that success, and sets in place reasonable measures for all sectors to ensure that we continue to grow our economy while further reducing carbon pollution.”