On 2 December 2016, the Californian Air Resources Board (CARB) released a discussion draft for public consultation of parts of the 2030 Target Scoping Plan Update. CARB is the agency overseeing the implementation of California’s climate policy. The scoping plan outlines options for reaching California’s climate targets, drawing on economic modeling to propose and examine the adequacy of different policy mixes.

The updated scoping plan reflects the codification into statute of California’s goal to reduce emissions 40% compared to 1990 levels by 2030. This follows an executive order from Governor Brown in April 2015 that contained the same target. Based on the modeling scenarios constructed by the CARB, California’s existing climate and energy commitments are projected to be insufficient to reach its 2030 target (with a cumulative gap of at least 138 MMTCO2e in a scenario where all policies work as expected under ideal circumstances).

Three main scenarios to achieve the 2030 goal are outlined in the draft, including: (1) a continuation of the cap-and-trade program after 2020, (2) scaling up existing actions (without the cap-and-trade program) and additional policies for transport, industry and energy; or (3) establishing a carbon tax. 

Under the modeled cap-and-trade scenarios, the cap-and-trade program is expected to deliver at least 98 MMTCO2e (when other policies deliver maximal reductions) and 270 MMTCO2e in a scenario with higher uncertainty about the effectiveness of other policies. A complete draft will be released in early January for a 45-day public comment period, with the goal to present the plan for board approval in spring 2017. 

On November 15, California and Québec held their last joint auction for 2016, 88% of current auctions were sold at the reserve price of USD 12.73 (EUR 11.87), a much higher rate than in the previous two auctions, which also increased confidence of stakeholders.