As the California Air Resources Board opened a public hearing on its master plan for carrying out the state\u2019s climate protection law, AB 32, economic storm clouds raised doubts about whether the plan can fully achieve its promised greenhouse gas emissions reductions. \u201cThe scoping plan does not give me the confidence the goals will be met,\u201d said Alan Lloyd, former chair of the Air Board under Governor Gray Davis. \u201cIt looks as though it\u2019s very easy, a panacea. If that\u2019s the case, why hasn\u2019t it been done?\u201d Lloyd, an atmospheric chemist who has worked to clean up California\u2019s air pollution since the 1970s in numerous capacities, predicted that instead of being a panacea that will lead to a green economic revolution, the plan will be difficult to carry out and produce \u201cwinners and losers.\u201d He also criticized the plan for what he called too much emphasis on market mechanisms, like a carbon cap-and-trade program, instead of direct regulation. His testimony contrasted starkly with the economic study done to support the plan, which projects that it will modestly boost economic growth in California. Air Board chair Mary Nichols acknowledged that in light of the \u201csevere global economic downturn,\u201d the board must weigh the plan \u201cin a very careful and thorough way.\u201d She said the board is likely to make several changes to the plan before adopting it at a subsequent meeting scheduled for December 11 and 12. Renewable energy and clean technology companies voiced support for the plan. California Wind Energy Association executive director Nancy Rader said the plan\u2019s strategy to move to 33 percent renewable energy on the grid by 2020 can \u201creturn our economy to vibrancy.\u201d The Air Board\u2019s plan seeks to trim greenhouse gas emissions to their 1990 levels by 2020. To do that it outlines a series of regulations and programs--including a carbon cap- and-trade program--aimed at cutting emissions by 174 million metric tons a year by 2020, about a 30 percent reduction. Power companies and other industries under the cap-and-trade program could fulfill 49 percent of their emissions reductions through offset projects, such as reforesting denuded areas to sequester carbon from the atmosphere instead of cutting their own emissions. While the power industry emits 20 percent of the state\u2019s greenhouse gases, it would be responsible for achieving about 40 percent of the cuts under the plan, noted Ryan. Editors\u2019 note: For a more detailed version of this story, please see our sister publication E=MC2 \u2013 Energy Meets Climate Challenge. You can find it at www.energymeetsclimate.com.