Reaching long term climate goal will be daunting

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Nov. 15, 2013 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

California has a firm goal to reach 1990 levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2020. While CMTA believes that big challenges remain to keep California on an affordable path to meet even the 2020 goal, policymakers are turning their attention beyond 2020 to the year 2050. The California Air Resources Board is including in the AB 32 Scoping Plan Update recommendations for actions to reach 80 percent reductions below 1990 levels.

Last month the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory released a report describing three scenarios for reducing GHG emissions between now and 2050. Even the third and most aggressive scenario reached 188 MtCO2/yr, far short of the 2050 target of 85 MtCO2/yr (comparable to 80 percent below 1990 levels). It concluded that “additional policies will need to be developed for California to meet this stringent future target.”

The scenarios included assumptions for every GHG emitting sector of the California economy and were “carefully calibrated using available data and projections from multiple state agencies and other sources…”each scenario received extensive input from state energy planning agencies.” The scenarios were (1) all currently committed policies, (2) additional uncommitted policies, and (3) potential technology and market futures. For example, the third assumed 3 million zero emission vehicles in 2030 and 17 million in 2050, 51 percent renewable portfolio standard by 2030, passenger and light truck vehicle fuel efficiency of 77.9 mpg in 2050, and much more.

No scenario achieved criteria pollution reductions that will be required by future federal clean air policies. The scope of the report did not include a cost analysis or economic impact for each scenario. It is clear that much more analysis and public debate should inform the development of a rational climate change policy for California for the years after 2020.

See the full report: Estimating Policy-Driven Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trajectories in California: The California Greenhouse Gas Inventory Spreadsheet (GHGIS) Model

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