Joint Oversight Hearing on ARB's Scoping Plan shows need for increased transparency

Sen. Wieckowski says transparent analysis is needed to make sure state achieves 2030 GHG reduction goals

January 17, 2018

Sacramento – As California embarks on an ambitious attempt to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to a level that is 40 percent below 1990 figures by 2030, a transparent, thorough analysis of the state’s Air Resources Board’s (ARB) Scoping Plan is needed to meet the ambitious goals and stay on target, Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) said today during a Senate joint oversight committee hearing.

“California needs its own public, independent, retrospective analysis of our climate change policies and their effectiveness, which will provide the Legislature and stakeholders an opportunity to better understand how ARB comes to its conclusions ­– the metrics, formulas and assumptions utilized to develop and evaluate the success of our scoping plans and programs,” said Wieckowski, who chaired today’s Senate Environmental Quality – Budget & Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 2 joint oversight hearing of ARB’s updated Scoping Plan. “This would allow ARB to lead the world once again by providing a model for the evaluation that can be used in the development of a global stocktake.”

The committees heard testimony from ARB Chair Mary D. Nichols, Ross Brown, a fiscal and policy analysis with the Legislative Analyst’s Office, and Danny Cullenward, a research associate with Near Zero.

The ARB approved its latest Scoping Plan update last month.  Nichols told the committees that the board needs to “keep evaluating how we are doing” and emphasized the importance of reaching the targets while balancing the costs associated with doing so under the state’s Cap and Trade market system.

However, the other panelists said it is critical that ARB inform the Legislature on what steps it will take under various scenarios to meet the GHG reduction goals. Throughout the hearing, Wieckowski reiterated the need to be transparent with the Legislature to make sure adequate steps are being taken.

“It is crucial that there is critical analysis of the 2017 Scoping Plan and previous scoping plans to evaluate whether they successfully achieve the goals and mandates of the statutes or whether changes are needed to strengthen the process,” he said. “Without this knowledge, the state is in serious jeopardy of not achieving the SB 32 target.”

Sen. Wieckowski represents the 10th District, which includes southern Alameda County and parts of Santa Clara County.