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Modeling California Policy Impacts on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

  • Author(s): Greenblatt, Jeffery B.
  • et al.
Abstract

This paper examines policy and technology scenarios in California, emphasizing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2020 and 2030. Using CALGAPS, a new, validated model simulating GHG and criteria pollutant emissions in California from 2010 to 2050, four scenarios were developed: Committed Policies (S1), Uncommitted Policies (S2), Potential Policy and Technology Futures (S3), and Counterfactual (S0), which omits all GHG policies. Forty-nine individual policies were represented. For S1-S3, GHG emissions fall below the AB 32 policy 2020 target [427 million metric tons CO2 equivalent (MtCO2e) yr 1], indicating that committed policies may be sufficient to meet mandated reductions. In 2030, emissions span 211 to 428 MtCO2e yr 1, suggesting that policy choices made today can strongly affect outcomes over the next two decades. Long-term (2050) emissions were all well above the target set by Executive Order S-3-05 (85 MtCO2e yr 1); additional policies or technology development (beyond the study scope) are likely needed to achieve this objective. Cumulative emissions suggest a different outcome, however: due to early emissions reductions, S3 achieves lower cumulative emissions in 2050 than a pathway that linearly reduces emissions between 2020 and 2050 policy targets. Sensitivity analysis provided quantification of individual policy GHG emissions reduction benefits.

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