By Jacques Leslie, Los Angeles Times
- California’s cap-and-trade program alone won’t be sufficient to reach the state’s goals, including its mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.
- Energy Innovation, a San Francisco think tank, spent more than two years developing a computer model called an Energy Policy Simulator to measure the efficacy of various policies for reaching the state’s 2030 goals. The model has six proposals that would generate $21 billion in net economic and social benefits over the next decade
- Four of Energy Innovation’s six proposals would strengthen existing policies, including increasing the cap-and-trade program’s carbon price floor from its current impotent level of $16.68 per ton of carbon emissions. A recent World Bank report recommended a $40 to $80 price range.
- The computer modelers recommend combining multiple strategies and building on existing mandates, including:
- Requiring 70% carbon-free electricity by 2030 (a 10% increase from current law)
- Increasing the state’s vehicle standard from 5 million to 7.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2030
- Requiring that 80% of new cars sold in 2030 are electric
- Accelerating building electrification, including replacing residential natural gas space and water heaters with electric heat pumps
- New initiatives are also needed such as a zero-emission standard for heat used in industrial processing, which would force the carbon-intensive cement industry to decarbonize
The Climate Center follows key legislation in California to advocate for the support and funding of key climate legislation for rapid decarbonization.