Gov. Gavin Newsom directed the California Air Resources Board to tighten its proposed plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by removing reliance on 10 GW of new natural gas-fired plants, and driving more offshore wind development, home electrification and clean transportation fuels, including for the aviation industry. But he supports the 2022 climate Scoping Plan’s controversial reliance on carbon capture to reduce emissions.
“Now, because of the severity of the impacts California faces, we need to up our game,” Newsom wrote CARB in a July 22 letter. He told the agency to make more cuts in every polluting sector to ensure the state reaches its target of at least a 40% reduction below 1990 carbon emission levels by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2045.
Newsom directed CARB to require carbon capture technologies to suck up 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gases by 2030 and 100 million metric tons by 2045.
Clean air and environmental justice advocates objected to the 2022 proposal’s reliance on direct air and carbon capture and sequestration to slash climate pollution and they take issue with Newsom’s support of these unproven technologies.
Sierra Club Director Brandon Dawson insisted the final plan prioritize “direct emission reductions without overreliance on carbon capture.” He added that the scoping plan should “achieve zero emissions in the electric sector by 2035, phase out fossil fuel extraction by 2035 and refining by 2045, achieve 100% zero emission heavy-duty vehicle sales by 2035, and phase out new gas appliances by 2030.”
Bill Magavern, policy director for the Coalition for Clean Air, was pleased with new gas plants being subtracted out of the plan and the bigger push for offshore wind, building decarbonization, and less polluting aviation fuels. However, he is concerned by Newsom’s support for industrial carbon removal, pointing to “the potential for the oil industry to continue to inflict harm on low-income communities of color.”
The Western States Petroleum Association panned the governor’s plan, too, raising concerns about the economic costs.
“While Governor Newsom continues to campaign in other state’s media markets on TV and print media, those states should be aware that if he had his way, they would be paying significantly more in electricity cost and paying more at the pump,” Catherine Reheis-Boyd, WSPA President & CEO, said.
Gov calls for 20 GW+ of offshore wind
Newsom’s letter also directs the California Energy Commission to develop a plan to bring at least 20 GW of offshore wind to California by 2045, when the state is supposed to achieve a decarbonized economy. Up to 4.5 GW of floating turbines are projected to be built off the coasts of Humboldt and Morro bays starting in 2030, with federal leases to be auctioned this September.
The state chief also set a goal of 3 million electrified homes and the installation of 6 million heat pumps by 2030, with half of the electric heat pumps going to low-income and disadvantaged communities. Air and water heating and cooling are the predominant energy use of buildings.
“Done in collaboration with the most affected cities, these holistic climate upgrades will protect California’s working families–especially our most vulnerable residents – from extreme weather, and will keep them healthy, safe, and resilient,” said Jose Torres, California director of the Building Decarbonization Coalition. The coalition along with partners “will continue to push for investments of at least $1.2 billion for healthy homes, $1 billion for community resiliency centers, and $500 million for school facility upgrades in the California budget,” which will be finalized next month, he said.
Newsom also directed that there be 7 million climate-friendly homes by 2035.
The governor also called for a 20% clean fuels target for the aviation sector and creating a task force to address methane leaks from oil infrastructure near communities. The state budget includes $100 million for methane detection satellites.
About two-thirds of the 30,000 oil and gas wells in California are leaking methane, Hollin Kretzmann, Attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, told KBAK Bakersfield last month.