Criticism of California emissions, carbon neutrality plan

Sacramento, Calif. (AP) — California air regulators are likely to hear a barrage of criticism Thursday over plans to reduce fossil fuel use and reach carbon neutrality by 2045, a proposal that would require sweeping changes in state powers . Economy in the face of climate change.

This will be the first public discussion of this year’s draft scoping plan from the California Air Resources Board, which is updated every five years and outlines a roadmap for the state to reach its climate goals. The 2045 target is one of the most ambitious goals in the country, but the proposal has many critics beyond the oil industry, who say the strategy has too many restrictions and mandates. A wide range of environmental advocates say the plan does little to reduce planet-warming emissions.

“California can do better than this,” wrote Assembly member Al Murasuchi, a Democrat, in a letter to the motion he is circulating for aides to sign.

Reaching carbon neutrality means the state will remove as much carbon from the air as it emits. This would be in conjunction with using technology to reduce fossil fuel use and remove any remaining emissions from the air. Board staff project that it will reduce the demand for petroleum in the economy and the use of fossil natural gas in buildings by 91% by 2045.

To do so would require 30 times more electric vehicles on the road, six times more electrical appliances in homes, four times more wind and solar generation and 60 times more hydrogen than there are today.

Even with such a widespread transition, the plan estimates that California will still emit at least 94 million metric tons of carbon dioxide—about 22% of the state’s emissions today—by 2045. All of them will also need to be removed from the air.

Criticism from environmental groups has focused on key themes: the plan does not call for substantial emissions reductions, relies heavily on unproven and energy-intensive carbon removal techniques, and lacks attention to whether states are doing their jobs. The more urgent 2030 is set to hit emissions. target

The Air Board created an environmental justice advisory committee, but several members of that committee said the plan was too short.

Kathryn Garoupa White, a committee member and executive director of the Central Valley Air Quality Coalition, said air regulators cannot answer important questions about the safety and viability of carbon sequestration and removal proposals. The plan allows oil refining to continue but requires the installation of carbon capture technology.

“We are in a position to continually respond and respond to the plans they have already baked in with the industry,” she said.

Air Resources Board chairman Lian Randolph dismissed criticism that the plan relied heavily on carbon removal. She noted that this calls for a major reduction in gas-fueled home appliances and a shift to electric vehicles. Still, the demand for fossil fuels will not be zero, she said.

“It seems that we are somehow in favor of mechanical carbon removal and we are leaving the strategies on the table in an attempt to like, make room for, and that’s not the case,” she said.

The oil industry, for its part, has said that the plan imposes too many restrictions and mandates that are impractical and will drive up prices. Western States Petroleum Association President Katherine Rehis-Boyd wrote Wednesday in a letter to Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon that the state’s energy policies, including the widely-scoping plan, are contributing to higher fuel costs.

“Restrictions on technology, mandates and limiting affordable options for Californians are not leadership,” he wrote.

Howard Herzog, a senior research engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Energy Initiative, said the air board’s plan would require significantly more clean energy than the level of carbon removal. To meet the plan’s targets, the state will need to massively increase solar, wind and battery storage.

“One of the biggest hurdles is finding enough carbon-free energy to reach that level,” Herzog said.

Right now, carbon capture is not in widespread use, although the Biden administration is spending billions to increase it.

Other critics have said that the plan focuses too much on the 2030 goals closer to 2045. The Air Board says it is on track to reduce emissions levels by 40% from 1990 levels by that year. But the meeting would require a significant ramp up in the pace of cuts. Air Board President Randolph said that many of the state’s climate policies have become or are about to become more strict.

For the first time, the scoping plan analyzes the role that natural and working lands, such as forests and farmlands, will play in increasing or reducing emissions. The plan depends on whether such land would draw carbon out of the air. But the plan later found that it would likely contribute to emissions by 2045, mostly from wildfires or related forest management. To make up for those additional emissions, the Air Board could make even more demands on carbon dioxide removal.

The Air Board consists of 14 members, most of whom are appointed by the Governor. They represent local Hawaii districts, environmental justice communities, farming, and the transportation system. They will approve the final plan by the end of the year.

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: