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December 16, 2014  |  Written by Lauren D. Bernadett

California Air Resources Board to Prepare a Mid-Term Scoping Plan Update Incorporating Agriculture and Water

California Air Resources Board (CARB) officials at a November 20, 2014 board meeting discussed their plan to prepare a mid-term update to CARB’s scoping plan, the document that describes how California will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in compliance with the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, better known as AB 32.  Although the agency just released its required 5-year update in May 2014, the agency is planning this mid-term update to produce a more coherent, integrated energy plan for California and inform the path to creating and meeting a greenhouse gas emission target for 2030.

Recently introduced bills indicate legislators are also considering additions to AB 32.  Multiple bills would require CARB to recommend 2030, 2040, and/or 2050 greenhouse gas targets to the Governor.  Senate Bill 32, perhaps one of the most controversial introduced bills, would require CARB to approve an emissions reduction of 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, the same limits in Executive Order S-3-05.

Mary Nichols, Chairman of CARB, stated that the updated scoping plan and possibly future legislation packages will begin to comprehensively incorporate areas such as agriculture and water-related operations to further reduce emissions.  CARB’s agriculture programs have so far focused on agricultural burning, manure management, soil management practices, water and fuel use, and land use planning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Water sector emission reductions would come primarily from reductions in the electricity and natural gas used to pump, convey, treat, and heat water.  So far, measures to reduce agricultural and water-related greenhouse gas emissions under CARB’s scoping plan have been voluntary.  In the recent update to its scoping plan, CARB states that voluntary strategies have not increased as expected because of the “economic recession, increased feed and fuel prices, lack of sufficient financial incentives, and insufficient utility contracts.”

CARB did not provide a time frame for the preparation of the mid-term update.  The May 2014 scoping plan update can be found here. For more information, contact Lauren Bernadett at lbernadett@somachlaw.com.

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