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To Achieve Carbon Neutrality by 2045, CARB Proposes 2022 Scoping Plan

On November 16, 2022, the California Air Resources Board (CARB or the Board) proposed a new Scoping Plan for the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  Generally, the Scoping Plan is a means by which the Board can assess California’s progress toward achieving carbon neutrality by 2045, and issue new policies and strategy to meet that goal.  The Board is required by law to update the Scoping Plan every five years, and this is the third such update since the California legislature enacted the California Global Warming Solutions Act in 2006.  CARB staff are touting the Scoping Plan not only as reducing GHG emissions, but also as leading to the creation of four million new jobs and the avoidance of $200 billion in pollution-related health expenditures.

The proposed Scoping Plan has several notable features.  For example, the plan emphasizes the promotion and deployment of Carbon Capture Utilization and Sequestration (CCUS) technologies which we summarized in an earlier post, here.  These CCUS provisions anticipated by the Scoping Plan are intended to provide business opportunities in California related to technology development and deployment.  Beyond CCUS development, however, the Scoping Plan includes several significant and broad steps to reduce GHG emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and foster carbon neutrality by 2045, or earlier, including:

  • Slash GHG emissions by 85 percent;

  • Install 6 million heat pumps;

  • Reduce oil consumption by 94 percent;

  • Deploy 20 GW of offshore wind capacity;

  • Build 7 million climate-friendly homes;

  • Remove 100 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent;

  • Achieve 20 percent non-combustion in the aviation sector; and

  • Reduce light-duty vehicle miles traveled 30 percent per capita below 1990 levels.

The 2022 Scoping Plan is slated to be adopted by year-end and it is widely expected to garner the necessary votes during CARB’s next and final meeting of the year being held on December 15-16, 2022.  Indeed, the actions taken by CARB incorporate climate goals recommended by Governor Newsom in his July 22, 2022 letter to CARB Chair Randolph.  Subsequent to the proposal of CARB’s most recent Scoping Plan, Governor Newsom stated this plan is “the most ambitious climate action of any jurisdiction in the world.” 

The release of the Scoping Plan stands against the backdrop of legislation signed by Governor Newsom in September, the “California Climate Crisis Act,” that directs CARB to revise the Scoping Plan to achieve statewide anthropogenic GHG reductions at least 85% below 1990 levels by 2045.  It also directs that California achieve net zero GHG emissions as soon as possible, but no later than 2045, and to achieve and maintain net negative GHG emissions thereafter.

At bottom, CARB will likely seek to achieve the emissions reduction goals of the Scoping Plan through new regulatory programs.  This will require additional state-level rulemaking and legislation.  Therefore, a focused and sustained effort from businesses that participate in the carbon markets, CCUS development, and production of energy in California over the next several years is needed.  For more information on California’s actions, contact our environmental and energy teams who are working across the full-spectrum of issues raised by the Scoping Plan, such as supporting CCUS development and deployment, advising on production of eFuels, and addressing the range of issues associated with the state’s conversion to electric vehicles and efforts to reduce and eliminate fossil fuel use in a range of non-road equipment and vehicles. 

Garrett Kral also contributed to this article.

Copyright © 2023, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 341

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Samuel L. Brown Environmental Practice Hunton Andrews Kurth San Francisco, CA

A former US EPA lawyer, Sam brings deep knowledge and practical experience to his clients’ environmental and natural resource concerns, helping them navigate the demands of regulatory agencies, ensure facility and corporate compliance, respond to government investigations and defend against enforcement actions.

Sam is experienced in domestic and international environmental and natural resource matters that impact client business and operations. His clients primarily include public and private sector manufacturing, mining, electric utility, oil and gas, municipal drinking water and...

Shannon Broome Environmental Attorney Hunton Andrews Kurth Law Firm

Shannon is the managing partner of the firm’s San Francisco office and leads the firm’s California environmental practice.  Her prior experience as a chemical engineer in the oil and gas industry affords her unparalleled insights into the development of regulations and counsel on environmental, health and safety issues. Shannon also maintains an office in Washington, DC. Splitting her time between these offices allows her to help her clients wherever they may be. Shannon’s work focuses on permitting, enforcement, environmental incident response, and regulatory advocacy and litigation....

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Chuck Knauss has been repeatedly lauded by clients in Chambers USA. From 2011 through 2016, Chambers USA has reported that Chuck impresses clients with his “extraordinary strategic and analytical capabilities—he finds solutions others just cannot see … and has great understanding of how government agencies work.” For more than 30 years he has been on the frontlines of environmental law, pioneering work on behalf of clients in the US manufacturing and energy sectors. Clients call him a “legend in the field” and an “absolutely superb lawyer, top of [our]...

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Clare counsels clients on environmental and other regulatory matters, with a focus on transportation and energy project planning and execution.

Clare has experience in an array of regulatory matters related to transportation and energy industry project permitting, construction, recordkeeping and regulatory compliance. She has assisted a diverse set of clients—from pipeline developers to public transportation authorities—to understand the implications of regulatory, statutory, and permitting requirements for the delivery of infrastructure projects. She is well-versed in a broad...