20 October 2008

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) released a proposed Climate Change Scoping Plan document, which outlines measures to reduce California’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Development of the scoping plan is required by AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.

To achieve the state’s 2020 emission target of 427 MMTCO2e, an emission reduction of 169 MMTCO2e or about 30% is required from the projected 2020 business-as-usual scenario of 596 MMTCO2e.

The largest contributor to the GHG emission inventory is the transportation sector, which is responsible for 38% of California GHG emissions. In the business-as-usual scenario, the total emissions from transportation would further increase by 25% by 2020. Through a number of measures, the scoping plan targets an emission reduction of 62.3 MMTCO2e (37%) from the transportation sector.

Passenger vehicles are responsible for almost 30% of California’s GHG emissions from transportation. To address these emissions, ARB is proposing a three prong strategy: reducing greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, reducing the carbon content of transportation fuels through the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, and reducing the vehicle miles traveled. Efforts intended to reduce GHG emissions from passenger vehicles include the Pavley greenhouse gas vehicle standards (AB 1493), the zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) program, and the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (AB 118).

Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles account for approximately 20% of the transportation GHG inventory. Considered measures include retrofitting heavy-duty trucks with devices that reduce aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance to improve the fuel efficiency, as well as hybridization of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

Additional measures considered in the transportation sector include:

  • Vehicle efficiency measures, such as properly inflated tires or lower friction lubricating oils.
  • Goods movement measures, such as the use of shore power for ships at berth.
  • High speed rail—A 700 mile long rail system with speeds up to 200 mph which would serve major metropolitan centers in California by 2030.

The proposed scoping plan will be considered for approval at the ARB hearing on December 11, 2008.

Source: California ARB