SACRAMENTO – The Air Resources Board today approved California's plan to reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
"This plan is California's prospectus for a more secure and sustainable economy," said ARB Chairman Mary Nichols. "It will guide capital investments into energy efficiency to save us money, into renewable energy to break our dependence on oil, and promote a new generation of green jobs for hundreds of thousands of Californians."
By moving first in the nation," added Nichols, "California maintains its position at the front of the line in attracting venture capital, and positions us as a leader in the race to develop the clean technology products, patents and projects the global market demands and needs."
Development of the Scoping Plan is a central requirement of AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (Nuñez, Pavley), that requires California to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Governor Schwarzenegger signed the bill into law in September 2006.
The plan is built on the principle that a balanced mix of strategies is the best way to cut emissions by approximately 30 percent, and grow the economy in a clean and sustainable direction.
An important component of the plan is a cap-and-trade program covering 85 percent of the state's emissions. This program will be developed in conjunction with the Western Climate Initiative, comprised of seven states and four Canadian provinces that have committed to cap their emissions and create a regional carbon market.
Additional key recommendations of the plan include strategies to enhance and expand proven cost-saving energy efficiency programs; implementation of California's clean cars standards; increases in the amount of clean and renewable energy used to power the state; and, implementation of a low-carbon fuel standard that will make the fuels used in the state cleaner.
The plan proposes full deployment of the California Solar Initiative, high-speed rail, water-related energy efficiency measures and a range of regulations to reduce emissions from trucks and from ships docked in California ports. There are also measures designed to safely reduce or recover a range of very potent greenhouse gases - refrigerants and other industrial gases - that contribute to global warming at a level many times greater than carbon dioxide contributes.
The plan recommends targeted fees to fund the state's long-term commitment to AB 32 administration.
The ARB will begin developing detailed strategies to implement all of the recommended measures that must be in place by 2012.
Today's vote marks California as the first state in the nation to formally approve a comprehensive greenhouse gas reduction plan that is required under statute and that involves every sector of the economy.
The plan is the product of an 18-month-long public process with scores of workshops and public meetings and hundreds of people testifying in person before the board. ARB staff received more than 43,000 individual comments, and more than a quarter-million copies of the plan have been viewed or downloaded from ARB's website since it was released on October 15.
CARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The CARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.