California Air Resources Board Releases Plan for Carbon Neutrality by 2045

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) recently released an updated proposal to reach carbon dioxide (CO2) neutrality by 2045.

CARB released the proposal, 2022 Scoping Plan For Achieving Carbon Neutrality, in response to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s July call for California to move faster to reach its climate goals by setting new targets for renewable energy, clean buildings, CO2 removal, and clean transportation fuels.

If adopted, CARB said the plan would build out a 100 percent clean energy grid, achieve carbon neutrality by 2045, ramp up CO2 removal and sequestration, build in protections against oil drilling, and invest $54 billion to create an oil-free future.

The plan would rapidly move the state to zero-emission transportation by electrifying the cars, buses, trains, and trucks that now constitute California’s single largest source of planet-warming pollution, CARB said. It would also phase out the use of fossil gas used for heating homes and buildings and clamp down on chemicals and refrigerants that trap much more heat than CO2.

The proposal calls for:

  • the installation of at least 20 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind capacity by 2045;
  • the building of 3 million climate friendly homes by 2030 and 7 million by 2035;
  • the deployment of 6 million heat pumps by 2030;
  • the setting of CO2 removal or capture targets of 20 million metric tons CO2 equivalent (MMTCO2e) by 2030 and 100 MMTCO2e by 2045;
  • the achievement of 20 percent non-combustion in the aviation sector by 2045, with the remaining demand met with sustainable aviation fuel;
  • setting a target for light-duty vehicle miles traveled (VMT) of 25 percent per capita below 1990 levels by 2030 and 30percent per capita below 1990 levels by 2045.

To address remaining emissions, the plan re-envisions “our natural and working lands—forests, shrublands/chaparral, croplands, wetlands, and other lands—to ensure they play as robust a role as possible in incorporating and storing more carbon in the trees, plants, soil, and wetlands that cover 90 percent of the state’s 105 million acres while also thriving as a healthy ecosystem,” CARB said.

However, modeling indicates that natural and working lands will not provide enough sequestration and storage to address the residual emissions, so it will be necessary to research, develop, and deploy additional methods of capturing CO2 that include removing it from smokestack emissions or drawing it out of the atmosphere and permanently storing it, CARB said.