Strategies to reduce climate emissions in California are integrated through state scoping plans, which are updated every five years.
In 2006, AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act, tasked the California Air Resources Board (CARB) with responsibility for working across the state’s agencies to develop a scoping plan to meet the state’s initial 2020 emissions target, setting out a scoping plan framework that continues to guide the state’s plans for achieving increasingly stringent emissions targets.
The scoping plans, published in 2008, 2014, 2017, and 2022, set out sector-specific objectives, consider cross-sector dynamics, and assess the potential economic and environmental implications of emission-reduction goals and strategies.
Although AB 32 set forth the basic scoping plan framework and established certain principles to guide the agencies’ discretion, dozens of laws and executive orders have imposed specific directives, including ambitious reduction targets, sector-specific strategies, and required or recommended regulatory approaches.
To help understand the state’s “scoping plan” and its updates, we lay out the legislation and executive orders that have structured and influenced the plans. Through detailed diagrams, we also depict the overall plan development process and opportunities for public participation.
Figure 1. Summary of Relevant Legislation and Executive Orders
This diagram sketches some of the key legislation and executive orders that have guided the state’s climate strategy. The tabs in blue represent state legislation. The tabs in yellow represent executive orders.
Scoping Plan Development Process and Public Participation Opportunities
Figure 2. Overall Scoping Plan Development Process
This diagram details the seven main steps in California’s carbon neutrality and climate emissions reduction scoping plan process.
Figure 3. Participation Opportunities in the Scoping Plan Process
Public participation is essential to ensuring that California’s scoping plans are strong and work to protect all communities throughout the state, particularly those who have been historically marginalized, disenfranchised, and excluded from environmental and climate policymaking opportunities in the past.