At its December 15 Board meeting, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved a 2022 Climate Change Scoping Plan to achieve California’s goal of net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2045. While the Board has approved three previous plans to achieve incremental greenhouse gas reduction targets, this Plan is the first to aim directly at achieving carbon neutrality.  The 2045 net-zero emissions goal was set into law by the passage of Assembly Bill 1279 in September 2022 to address the effects of climate change.

The 2022 Scoping Plan lays out a roadmap for reducing GHGs from every economic sector in the state. It includes plans for the technology to meet the goals, the necessary infrastructure improvements, and financial incentives to enable the changes.  The plan also looks at contributions by Natural and Working Lands (forests and agriculture).

The major benefits of the Plan are reducing the deleterious effects of climate change due to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including the increased severity and frequency of extreme heat, drought, and wildfire. Actions would reduce GHG emissions by 85% and demand for liquid fossil fuels by 94%. The plan foresees major transformations in the energy and infrastructure systems in California as the State transitions to clean energy production and distribution by relying on zero-carbon electricity and hydrogen, and, to a lesser extent, on use of biogases.

The transition to clean energy sources provides a 71% reduction in smog-forming air pollution. The plan also maintains a focus on attaining a 40% GHG reduction by 2030, as required by SB32 and the 2017 Scoping Plan, thus enabling near-term air quality benefits to communities with the highest air pollution exposures. As a consequence, Californians would see a $200 billion savings in health costs due to decreased fuel combustion. And a transition to clean energy sources would create four million new jobs.

All sectors will be affected with the greatest emission reductions in transportation, electricity- generation, industrial sources, and buildings sources.

(CARB, 2022)


  • Transportation – transition to electric vehicles, cars and trucks, and reducing vehicle miles travelled.
  • Electricity Generation – greater generation of electrical power from solar, wind, hydro, biogas, and biomass, and extending use of California’s one nuclear source.
  • Industrial – greater use of electric powered equipment, use of hydrogen fuels, and use of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) of CO2 emissions.
  • Residential and Commercial buildings – transition to greater use of electric appliances and heat pumps for all electric buildings.
  • Agriculture – increasing use of electrified equipment and capture of biogases.
  • Recycling and Waste – greater diversion of organic waste from landfills and recycling of products.
  • High Global Warming Potential gases – transition of gases used in refrigeration in industrial and commercial applications to lower global warming potential gases.

Finally, there is a greater role for Natural and Working Lands, which encompasses forests, shrub lands, and grass lands. Greater fuel reduction in these areas, climate smart agriculture, urban forest investments, and adding defensible space to tens of thousands of properties a year.

Now comes the hard part. The Scoping Plan in only a planning document to direct policy makers to the most efficient, economic, and healthy actions to transition to a low carbon future on or before 2045. The next step is for multiple agencies and stakeholders in California to get involved in multiple rulemakings by various agencies. More to come.

For more information and details, the 2022 Scoping Plan is located at: