California Releases World’s First Plan to Achieve Net Zero Carbon Pollution

Special to the Vanguard

Sacramento, CA – The California Air Resources Board (CARB) released its updated proposal to implement the most ambitious climate action of any jurisdiction in the world, taking unprecedented steps to drastically slash pollution and accelerate the transition to clean energy. No economy in the world, much less the soon-to-be 4th largest, has put forth such a comprehensive roadmap to reach carbon neutrality.

This updated plan follows Governor Gavin Newsom’s push to move faster to achieve new, ambitious climate goals, setting new targets for renewable energy, clean buildings, carbon removal, and clean fuels in the transportation sector.

If adopted by CARB, this plan will be a critical component of Governor Newsom’s California Climate Commitment – a set of world-leading actions to build out a 100% clean energy grid, achieve carbon neutrality by 2045, ramp up carbon removal and sequestration, protect Californians from harmful oil drilling, and invest $54 billion to forge an oil-free future while building sustainable communities throughout the state.

The updated Scoping Plan would achieve carbon neutrality by 2045, in addition to:

  • Cutting air pollution by 71%;
  • Slashing greenhouse gas emissions 85% by 2045;
    • That includes a 48% reduction of greenhouse gasses by 2030, surpassing the statutory mandate to reduce emissions 40% below 1990 levels in 2030;
  • Reducing fossil fuel consumption to less than one-tenth of what we use today, a 94% drop in demand for oil and 86% drop in demand for all fossil fuels;
  • Creating 4 million new jobs;
  • Saving Californians $200 billion in health costs due to pollution.

“California is drastically cutting our dependence on fossil fuels and cleaning our air – this plan is a comprehensive roadmap to achieve a pollution-free future,” said Governor Newsom. “It’s the most ambitious set of climate goals of any jurisdiction in the world, and if adopted, it’ll spur an economic transformation akin to the industrial revolution. While big polluters focus on increasing their profits at our expense, California is protecting communities, creating jobs and accelerating our transition to clean energy.”

The plan would also raise the stakes for clean energy and climate resiliency, calling for:

  • At least 20 GW offshore wind capacity built by 2045;
  • 3 million climate-friendly homes by 2030 and 7 million by 2035;
  • 6 million heat pumps deployed by 2030;
  • Carbon removal/capture targets of 20 million metric tons CO2 equivalent (MMTCO2e) by 2030 and 100 MMTCO2e by 2045;
  • Achieve 20% non-combustion in the aviation sector by 2045, with the remaining demand met with sustainable aviation fuel;
  • Light-duty vehicle miles traveled (VMT) target of 25% per capita below 1990 levels by 2030 and 30% per capita below 1990 levels by 2045.

“Finally there is a climate action plan that has the potential to bend the warming curve in time. The plan contains all of the essential ingredients of climate resilience: fossil free energy generation; reduction of short lived super pollutants; air pollution abatement; climate justice; restoration of nature’s role as carbon sink. It integrates effortlessly mitigation, adaptation and transformation,” explained Professor Emeritus Ram Ramanathan of UC San Diego.

“The science is clear: to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, the world must rapidly cut greenhouse gas emissions in the current decade,” added Katelyn Roedner Sutter, California State Director, Environmental Defense Fund.

David Weiskopf, Senior Policy Advisor, NextGen Policy  said, “The Scoping Plan contains many ambitious goals that will create major benefits for California and the world if we succeed in reaching them. But until we take action, it is just a report. It is our job as an advocacy community to turn seemingly impossible goals into realities and to prevent outcomes that continue the legacy of environmental racism at the hands of polluting fossil fuel companies.”

“California’s path to achieving carbon neutrality by 2045 depends on strong statewide action to decarbonize our homes and buildings through immediate and direct cuts to pollution with policies developed in partnership with environmental justice communities, added Jose Torres of Building Decarbonization Coalition.  “CARB’s commitment in its Scoping Plan to achieving Governor’s Newsom’s goal of deploying six million heat pumps and creating three million climate-ready homes by 2030, and seven million climate-ready homes by 2035 is a significant step in the right direction.”

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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