California Air Resources Board (CARB) Releases Revised AB 32 Scoping Plan Update.
By Susan Frank, Director, California Business Alliance for a Green Economy
On Monday, February 10, the California Air Resource Board released its revised Scoping Plan, the guiding document for implementation of the state’s groundbreaking clean energy and climate law, AB 32. The ultimate goal of the plan is to reduce California’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while continuing to foster a growing marketplace for clean energy innovation in a variety of sectors (transportation, fuels, waste, building and energy efficiency, etc.). The Plan provides a couple of important messages for California businesses including highlighting ways that local governments can use simple incentives to encourage businesses to reap the financial rewards of investing in energy and water efficiency.
The revised Scoping Plan describes how one city “has budgeted $625,000 to incentivize businesses to make resource and management improvements to reduce energy, water, solid waste, recycling, and fuel costs. The program furnishes businesses with a comprehensive energy assessment, and if the energy savings are great enough, can provide grants and loans to help with recommended improvements. As of November 2013 the program has assisted 10 businesses for annual cumulative annual savings of nearly $140,000 while reducing annual GHG emissions by 135 metric tons.”
The Plan goes on to say:
“We are addressing climate change head on because we must, but the necessity of action should not imply lost opportunity or economic compromise. The supposition that the status quo, characterized by relatively inefficient use of finite fossil resources, represents a preferred or lower-cost energy system is a false one.
The imperative of climate change and an unwavering commitment to meet the challenge through innovation will drive technology development and advance social progress. They provide clear signals that encourage businesses to grow and invest in ways that do not come at the expense of future generations, but instead, provide even more opportunity for growth in the future. Investments that allow us to do more with less and unlock the availability of clean, renewable energy only push out the boundary of our future potential.
Through AB 32 and related policies, California has implemented a suite of policies that is reducing emissions by both reducing energy demand and cleaning up energy supply. Taken together, our efficiency and clean energy policies are reducing not only GHG emissions, but also energy costs for consumers. For example, while the State moves toward 33 percent renewable energy in its electricity supply mix, it continues to outpace the rest of the country on energy efficiency. The State’s building and appliance energy efficiency standards have saved Californians $74 billion in energy costs since 1977.
California has the fourth lowest per-capita energy-related GHG emissions in the country and produces twice as much economic value for every unit of electricity used. California households also pay the ninth lowest electricity bills in the country.”
These are the arguments the Business Alliance has been making since 2009 when it was founded – we have long known that AB 32 would pay dividends and at the same time reduce costs for businesses and consumers in the long run, all the while reducing carbon pollution impacts. Many of our more than 1,260 members echo these sentiments daily, while they walk the walk and talk the talk of improving energy efficiency, reducing waste, and driving clean vehicles running on clean fuels.
The revised Scoping Plan reminds us that California’s entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well – in both the business community and among local governments – and that by staying the course on AB 32, we will continue to see our clean energy economy grow, innovate and set the bar for others to follow.