Modeling California policy impacts on greenhouse gas emissions

TitleModeling California policy impacts on greenhouse gas emissions
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsGreenblatt, J. B.
JournalEnergy Policy
Pagination158 - 172
Date Published03/2015
KeywordsAB 32, California climate policy, Cumulative greenhouse gas emission, global warming, greenhouse gas, Mid-term emission target

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 211–428 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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Short TitleEnergy Policy