Wednesday, May 25, 2022

California plans to drastically cut fossil fuel use

Sacramento, Calif. ( Associated Press) — Starting in 2026, new homes in California need to be powered by all-electric furnaces, stoves and other appliances if California is to meet its ambitious climate change goals over the next two decades, according to a state Plan to reduce pollution released on Tuesday

The roadmap by the California Air Resources Board sets the state on a path to achieve “carbon neutrality” by 2045, meaning as much carbon is removed from the air as it emits. The state’s timeline is one of the most ambitious in the nation; Hawaii has a similar target and some other states have a deadline of 2050.

California could reach its goals through a drastic transition away from fossil fuels that power cars, trucks, planes, ships, homes, businesses and other sectors of the economy. Board staff advise the state to cut oil and gas use by 91% by 2045 and use technology to capture and store carbon emissions from the remaining sources.

The plan was prepared by Air Board staff and is not final; A public comment process will begin and the political appointees who make up the Air Board will ultimately decide whether to make any changes. The legislature or other regulatory bodies have to agree to implement different policies. For example, the California Energy Commission sets building codes.

Still, state officials said the document represents a significant step forward for California and the rest of the country. California is the most populous state in the country and has the fifth largest economy in the world compared to other countries. That economic power means that state policy choices can drive big business changes, and other states often follow California’s lead on climate policy.

“When finalized, this plan will serve as a model for other industrialized economies around the world,” said California Environmental Protection Agency secretary Jared Blumenfeld.

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But neither environmental justice advocates nor the oil industry were happy. Environmental groups scuttle plans for their reliance on carbon capture Technology, which they say allows oil refineries, cement plants and other industries to continue polluting disadvantaged neighborhoods. He also pointed to a little-known element of the plan that calls the expansion of natural gas capacity as a failure by the Air Board.

“At a time when we need to plan for a phase-out of fossil fuels, our top air regulator is instead planning a massive expansion of dirty gas-fired power plants,” said Erie, campaign manager for Regenerate California. Eisenstadt said in a statement. , The group is a partnership between the California Environmental Justice Coalition and the Sierra Club that advocates for clean energy.

Meanwhile, the Western States Petroleum Association rejected the plan, which would mean “bans, mandates and costly regulations.”

“Forcing people to choose certain jobs, few cars, few homes and certain times to use energy is out of touch with ordinary people’s lives,” WSPA President Katherine Rehis-Boyd said in a statement.

Changing how buildings and means of transportation operate is central to Air Board’s plan. It suggests the state requires all new homes to have electrical equipment starting in 2026 and new businesses by 2029. For existing homes, there should be 80% of appliance sales by 2030 and 100% of electricity by 2035. This will help in ensuring transition of electricity to older homes. -Powered equipment when owners need to upgrade.

Meanwhile, transportation is the state’s biggest single source of greenhouse gas emissions. The state is already on track to require all new passenger cars sold to be zero-emissions by 2035., The plan also recommends: all truck sales be zero-emissions by 2040, 10% of airplane fuel demand to be met with hydrogen or batteries by 2045, 100% of dredge trucks to be zero-emissions by 2035, and 100% of passenger train sales will be zero-emissions by 2030.

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The plan will place significant new demands on the electric grid, requiring the state to rapidly scale up hydrogen infrastructure, including solar power and storage options, as well as pipelines.

California’s 2045 carbon neutrality target stems from an executive order from the then-Govt. Jerry Brown signed in 2018. But every five years since 2008, the Air Board needs to issue a roadmap to achieve the state’s climate goals.

The final version of the plan outlined how California would meet a state law that would require a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2030. Some observers of the process called for a robust analysis of the state’s progress toward the 2030 target, including the role of California’s signature cap-and-trade. The program was expected to run.

But the more than 200-page document, released Tuesday, includes just a small section on the state’s progress toward 2030 and doesn’t directly describe what level of emissions the state already has from various programs. reduction is expected. It says that the role of cap and trade in achieving the goals of the state will be reduced. The program requires businesses to buy credits equal to the amount of carbon they want to emit, with the goal of reducing overtime as the price of credit increases.

The Air Board will not assess whether changes are needed to reach the 2030 target until the scoping plan is finished, the plan said.

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