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Old Baldy, Canada | photo by Cameron Schaus
Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | chapter wide
Air Board develops draft plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Cap and trade plan included
by Virginia Draper
August 2008

In June the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released the Climate Change Draft Scoping Plan designed to implement AB 32, the greenhouse gas reduction law. Passed in 2006, AB 32 requires the State to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. This is about a 10% reduction from today's levels and a 30% reduction from business-as-usual levels projected for 2020.

 

Timeline for greenhouse gas
reduction measures

By Jan. 1, 2009 CARB adopts plan indicating how emission reductions will be achieved via regulations, market mechanisms (cap and trade programs) and other actions.
During 2009 CARB staff drafts rule language to implement its plan and holds a series of public workshops on each measure.
By Jan. 1, 2010 Early action measures take effect.
During 2010 CARB conducts series of rulemakings to adopt GHG regulations.
By Jan. 1, 2011 CARB completes major rulemakings for reducing GHGs. CARB may revise the rules and adopt new ones after 1/1/2011 in furtherance of the 2020 cap.
By Jan. 1, 2012 GHG rules and market mechanisms adopted by CARB take effect and are legally enforceable.
Dec. 31, 2020 Deadline for achieving 2020 GHG emissions cap (1990 levels).
By 2050 Reduce GGH to 80 percent below 1990 levels.

 

Calling the draft plan "balanced and comprehensive," Bill Magavern, Sierra Club California's Director, noted that it includes many ideas presented by Sierra Club activists in May. For instance, the plan calls on utilities to produce a third of their energy from renewable sources such as wind, solar, and geothermal by 2020. The draft plan also requires more efficient cars and trucks.

Most of the reductions would be supervised under an ambitious cap and trade program that targets four sectors: electricity, transportation, industry, and natural gas. Due to launch in 2012, this program will be developed in conjunction with the Western Climate Initiative, comprised of seven states and three Canadian provinces, to create a regional carbon market.

The draft plan does not say how emissions allowances will be distributed. Mary Nichols, ARB Chair, says they are trying "to split the difference" —auctioning only a few allowances at first and giving away the rest, but auctioning more in future years. Sierra Club is opposed to giving away emission credits to polluters.

The Sierra Club and other environmental organizations (e.g., Union of Concerned Scientists, National Resources Defense Council, and Environment California) believe all allowances should be auctioned. They assert, "Allowances should be seen as a public asset, since they represent permission to use the atmosphere, which belongs to all of us, to dispose of pollution." Proceeds should be invested in highest-value solutions, such as increasing energy efficiency in homes, commercial buildings, and vehicles.

Other principles for a well-designed cap and trade program are in the Cap and Auction Position paper: sierraclubcalifornia.org/globalwarming.html.

The final draft will go to the Air Resources Board in November and be adopted in January. From 2009-2011 all measures will be vetted and analyzed, with full public input, as the plan moves through the regulatory process. For information about hearings and other ways to give input, see the California Air Resources Board web site: www.arb.ca.gov/cc/scopingplan/scopingplan.htm. Information on Sierra Club California's activities related to implementation of AB 32 is at sierraclubcalifornia.org.



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In This Section

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State bill would ban single-use plastic bags
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New law will protect Americans from formaldehyde
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Club report explores ending oil dependence
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Assembly resolution puts pressure on Feds to enforce Marine Mammal Act
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County Supervisors support net metering
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Restore Hetch Hetchy moves HQ to San Francisco
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Carl Pope to step down
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Border wall harming wildlife
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Learning bird behavior turns kids into scientists
January 2009

Air Board warns consumers about air purifiers
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Green Streets improve water quality
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State body proposes plastic bag fees
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Cutting their carbon footprints
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Carl Pope to step down as Executive Director of Sierra Club
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Global Warming rekindles nuclear power debate
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A visit with the great California condors
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Elkhorn Slough threatened by subdivisions

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Greased lightning - Peregrine falcons in California

It’s time to restore Hetch Hetchy

Appeal to deny subdivision near Elkhorn Slough successful

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Forest geneticists visit Point Lobos

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California's oak woodlands need your help!