Climate Change: Greenhouse Gas Outlook Down

By Published On: July 29, 2011

Heading toward a vote next month, the California Air Resources Board July 25 released a document outlining how its projection of greenhouse gas emissions over the remainder of the decade has changed since 2008 when it adopted its plan for carrying out the state’s climate protection law, AB 32. It shows that due both to the recession and changes in emissions reductions expected under “source specific” measures projected emissions in 2020 are 507 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent instead of 596 million metric tons. That’s under a business as usual scenario with no further regulatory action. Between 12 and 20 percent of the downward revision is due to the state’s 33 percent renewables portfolio standard, plus greenhouse gas standards for cars that became legally enforceable after the 2008 plan. The new emissions projection is part of a revised analysis of how to carry out AB 32 that the Air Board put together in the face of litigation. It’s expected to vote on the new analysis Aug. 24. It shows that to meet AB 32’s 2020 deadline the state has to cut annual greenhouse gas emissions by 80 million metric tons over the remainder of the decade to 427 million metric tons. In a related development, the Air Board published proposed changes to its cap-and-trade program for public comment. The changes--among other things--delay enforcement of the rule until 2013, instead of 2012 as initially planned. The agency plans to accept public comments on the changes through Aug. 9. * * * * * The California Air Resources Board late last week approved $40 million in incentives for electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids, and other clean vehicles that can reduce greenhouse gases and smog. Included is $15 million to $21 million for continued funding of consumer rebates of up to $2,500 toward the purchase of zero-emission or plug-in hybrid passenger vehicles. In addition, the Air Board approved $11-$16 million to continue providing vouchers for California businesses to buy lower-emitting and fuel-efficient hybrid and zero-emission trucks and buses. The money is collected through vehicle registration fees.

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