California’s Air Resources Board (CARB), on December 16, 2010, adopted an historic cap-and-trade program to cap emissions at 600 facilities. The regulation is divided into two phases: an initial phase beginning in 2012 that will include major industrial sources and utilities; and, a second phase that starts in 2015 and brings in distributors of transportation fuels, natural gas and other fuels. The goal of the program is to achieve a 15 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 2012 levels. However, a San Francisco Superior Court recently issued a tentative decision that could delay the January 2012 commencement of the cap-and-trade program.
Renewable Portfolio Standard
California’s renewable portfolio standard, or RPS, mandates that utilities replace a portion of their hydrocarbon-based electricity with clean power sources. In late 2010, the California Air Resources Board approved Resolution 10-23, which increased the state’s standard for the proportion of electricity generation by eligible renewable sources from 20 percent to 33 percent. Approving the rule as a directed executive order became necessary when Senate Bill 722, which could have codified the 33 percent standard, failed to pass in both 2009 and 2010.
Coordinating GHG Standards for Light-Duty Vehicles
California had been expected to announce its 2017-2025 greenhouse gas standards for light-duty vehicles as early as March 2011, but will now delay the release until Sept. 1, 2011. The delayed date accommodates the release of EPA’s and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s fuel efficiency standards for passenger cars and light-duty trucks built between 2017 and 2025. California is permitted under the Clean Air Act to implement its own rules, but it agreed in the fall of 2010 to comply with federal greenhouse gas standards that required a fleetwide standard of 35.5 miles per gallon, creating the first coordinated national program.