In an update to its Scoping Plan the California Air Resources Board has laid out the policies and actions the state proposes to drastically cut its use of fossil fuels and achieve carbon neutrality by 2045 at the latest.

State governor Gavin Newsom praised the proposal. “[California’s] is the most ambitious set of climate goals of any jurisdiction in the world, and if adopted, it will spur an economic transformation akin to the industrial revolution,” he said in a statement following the plan’s release.

Under the proposals, by 2045 California would:

  • Reduce fossil fuel consumption to less than one-tenth of what is used today – a 94% reduction in demand;
  • Cut greenhouse gas emissions by 85% compared to 1990 levels;
  • Achieve a 71% reduction in particulate (ie smog-forming) air pollution.

The plan includes a commitment to build no new gas-fired power plants and increased support for mass transit. It also calls for a multi-agency process to ensure that the transition away from oil extraction and refining is “equitable.” And it calls for the construction of 20 GW in offshore wind by 2045.

The Board is scheduled to vote on the 2022 Update to the Scoping Plan at its December 15-16 meeting. The initial draft was considered by the Board at its June meeting and with the Environmental Justice Advisory Committee in September. The final proposed plan includes changes requested by the Board and the EJAC, as well as input from governor Gavin Newsom. It also reflects direction from new state laws passed by the Legislature earlier this year.

The final modelling for the Scoping Plan projects a 48% reduction of greenhouse gases below 1990 levels by 2030. That would surpass the state’s statutory mandate to reduce emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.