United States: Carb Approves Final 2017 Scoping Plan Update To Achieve Statewide 2030 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Target

On December 14, 2017, the California Air Resources Board ("CARB") approved the 2017 Final Scoping Plan Update. The Plan outlines CARB's programs to achieve a 40 percent reduc- tion in greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions from 1990 levels by 2030 (as required by the passage of SB 32 in 2017). This article summarizes a few of the key components of the 2017 Final Scoping Plan Update, as well as changes from the January 2017 draft of the Plan.

Renewable Energy. California's Renewable Portfolio Standard ("RPS") requires investor-owned utilities, publicly owned utili- ties, electric service providers, and community choice aggre- gators to source 50 percent of their electricity retail sales from eligible renewable energy resources. RPS also requires the state to double the cumulative statewide energy efficiency savings in electricity and natural gas end uses by 2030.

The 2017 Final Scoping Plan Update proposes additional actions to promote renewable and low-carbon intensity energy sources. These include adoption of a zero net energy stan- dard for residential buildings by 2018–2019 and for commer- cial buildings by 2030. CARB also proposes to adopt rules to promote development of electricity storage technology, evalu- ate and set targets for the electrification of space and water heating and use of lower-carbon intensity heating fuels in resi- dential and commercial buildings, and promote deployment of fuel cells that use renewable fuels or generate electricity that is less carbon intensive than the grid.

No New Efficiency Standards for Refineries. CARB's draft Scoping Plan Update (January 2017) included a proposal that would have required a 20 percent reduction in GHG emis- sions from California refineries by 2030. In July 2017, California enacted Assembly Bill 398, which extends the state's cap and trade program until 2030 and, among other things, directs CARB to designate the cap and trade program as the com- pliance mechanism for petroleum refineries and oil and gas production facilities to achieve their greenhouse gas emission reductions. Consistent with this new direction from the legisla- ture, CARB has removed the proposed efficiency standard for refineries from the Final Scoping Plan Update.

Other Programs. Among other things, CARB also will continue to develop and implement the cap and trade program, with declining annual GHG emission caps, for the years 2020– 2030; reduce the transportation fuel carbon intensity target under the Low Carbon Fuel Standard by 18 percent; dramati- cally expand the use of zero- and low-emission vehicles on California's roads and highways; implement programs to reduce emissions in delivery and municipal transit sectors; create a mandatory comprehensive statewide packaging reduction model and meet commercial and organic recycling reduction targets by 2020; and preserve California's natural and working lands as carbon sinks, i.e., net zero or negative GHG emissions, to 2030 and beyond.

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