The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is the agency responsible for implementing California’s landmark climate legislation – AB 32 (2006) and SB 32 (2016), which extended the state’s climate change law to the year 2030 with a new target of a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gases below the 1990 level. In addition to implementing a range of climate programs and regulations, CARB produces two guiding planning documents: (1) The Scoping Plan, updated every five years, describes the approach California will take to reduce GHGs and achieve the goal of reducing emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030; (2) The Investment Plan, released every three years, informs California policymakers in their annual decisions on how to focus climate investments.
Another important planning document is the Adaptation Plan, produced by the Natural Resources Agency. It guides the work of various state agencies on climate adaptation.
CalCAN monitors and provides input into all of these documents, and organizes comment letters from allied organizations and farmers.
Scoping Plan Update to Reflect 2030 Targets (in progress)
In April 2015, Governor Brown’s Executive Order B-30-15 established a greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. With this, CARB was directed to update the current Scoping Plan to reflect these 2030 targets. These 2030 targets were codified into law by the passage of SB 32 in 2016.
The 2030 Target Scoping Plan is in its final drafting stages by CARB. CalCAN has attended public workshops for this Plan’s updates and is pleased to see that discussions around agriculture have continued to evolve, including objectives around agricultural land conservation and management practices for healthy soils. However, more quantifiable targets and pathways are still needed. CalCAN has submitted multiple comment letters to CARB (April ’16, September ’16, & December ’16) offering specific climate change goals for California’s agriculture sector along with feasible policy mechanisms to support and achieve these recommended goals. You can read our analysis of CARB’s latest draft in our January 2017 blogpost.
In October 2015, CARB released its draft Cap-and-Trade Auction Proceeds Second Investment Plan. This is the second ARB investment plan since the start of the California cap-and-trade program. Fortunately, CARB put significant emphasis on farmland conservation strategies and other ‘climate-smart’ agricultural activities. Read more…
In Spring 2014, CARB released an updated Scoping Plan that went a lot further than the original in laying out strategies that reduce agricultural GHG emissions while also achieving economic and environmental co-benefits. For the first time, CARB proposes setting emission reductions targets in the agriculture sector for interim date of 2030 to help meet the state’s target of 80 percent GHG emission reductions by 2050. CalCAN was pleased to see that CARB’s new plan calls for research, technical assistance and financial incentives that provide resources for farmers and ranchers to implement reduction strategies. What’s not clear in the plan is how we’re going to get there. Read more…
In August 2014, the California Natural Resources Agency released its final ‘Safeguarding California’ update to the 2009 Climate Change Adaptation Plan. This document will guide agencies’ work on issues of climate adaptation over the next several years.
CalCAN is pleased to note that the final Plan incorporates a number of our suggestions, which better recognize the diversity of agricultural systems in the state, the role of sustainable and organic agricultural practices, and the contributions of technical assistance providers. The final Plan also clarifies and elaborates upon the connection between farmland conversion and cumulative climate impacts. It highlights the drastic loss of funding for land conservation programs in recent years.
The Agriculture chapter of the Safeguarding California Plan presents a fairly comprehensive view of the myriad issues facing California agriculture. It outlines a way forward that builds upon existing programs and policies, and we think it is a good start to this discussion.