California’s Proposed Strategy to Cut Carbon Pollution Requires More Ambitious Action

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Statement by Mark Specht, Western States Energy Manager at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

SACRAMENTO — California’s draft plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045 overly relies on carbon dioxide removal and should instead incorporate more ambitious emissions reductions, particularly in the electricity sector, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The Scoping Plan, updated every five years, guides California’s policies for cutting greenhouse gas emissions that are fueling climate change and its dangerous impacts. The California Air Resources Board will hold a hearing today about its proposed 2022 plan before a final vote this fall.

Below is a statement by Mark Specht:

“The plan’s risky reliance on nascent carbon dioxide removal technologies could put the achievement of California’s climate goals in jeopardy. While these technologies have a role in limiting global warming, they are not a substitute for deep, direct emissions cuts that should be the state’s foremost strategy to address climate change.

“In addition, it is alarming that the draft scoping plan calls for the retention of all existing gas plants as well as a large-scale buildout of new gas power plants by 2045. A more prudent and equitable choice would be to drastically reduce electric sector emissions and exclude construction of polluting gas facilities in California communities already impacted by poor air quality.

“The climate change impacts we are experiencing in California, from drought and extreme heat to destructive wildfires, require us to take more urgent action than this plan provides to aggressively replace the use of fossil fuels with renewable energy and energy storage.”

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