California Air Resources Board Forges Ahead With 2030 Scoping Plan

By Tara Kaushik, Holland & Knight, via

On Jan. 20, 2017, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released an updated Scoping Plan to reduce state greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Under the state's climate change law known as Assembly Bill (AB) 32, CARB is required to produce a scoping plan every five years. The proposed plan has the potential to impact the state's cap and trade program and carbon markets for the long term.

The proposed plan outlines options to meet California's aggressive goals to reduce GHGs by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. The State codified the 40 percent goal in legislation enacted last year (Senate Bill 32). The proposed plan would extend the state's cap-and-trade program — in which CARB auctions off emissions allowances to refiners, utilities and other GHG sources as the emissions cap gradually declines — to cover the years 2020 to 2030. The proposed plan would extend the cap-and-trade program and newly require oil refineries to reduce their GHGs by 20 percent.

The proposed plan also incorporates the state's updated Renewable Portfolio Standard requiring utilities to procure 50 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. It also raises the state's Low Carbon Fuel Standard, and aims to reduce emissions of methane and hydrofluorocarbons by 40 percent from 2013 levels by 2030 and emissions of black carbon by 50 percent from 2013 levels.