We recently sat down with Will Barrett, Senior Director of Clean Air Advocacy at the American Lung Association in California. We wanted to hear more about the 2022 Climate Change Scoping Plan, led by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Below are some of Will’s thoughts on the Plan and how advocates can work on the plan collectively.
Can you give us a general overview of what’s happening with CARB’s 2022 Climate Change Scoping Plan?
In June 2021, CARB kicked off the 2022 Scoping Plan process that happens every 5 years. This planning process intends to track the progress of reaching our state’s climate standards and evaluate the suite of policies that can help us reach them.
Who is involved in the Scoping Plan process and what is the timeline for these initiatives?
The Scoping Plan process is a multi-agency undertaking, touching all sectors of the economy. So, everything from transportation, energy, natural and working lands, agriculture, and industry falls within the purview of the plan. Many agencies and stakeholders participated in the discussion during the kickoff workshops this past June.
CARB is hosting regular public meetings and ongoing workshops focused on different elements of the Scoping Plan. CARB will take input from a variety of sources and stakeholders, including the Environmental Justice Advisory Committee. This feedback will then inform the development of the draft Scoping Plan. CARB will release the final draft in Spring 2022.
What is the role of the California Lung Association in the Scoping Plan process?
The Lung Association views the Scoping Plan as an important mile-marker to meet health protective climate standards. We’re trying to focus on outlining various near-term strategies that cut climate pollution, while also improving community health. For example, we know the transportation sector is the leading source of harmful air and climate pollution in California.
By shifting the focus to active transportation, public transit, and zero-emission technology, we can address climate pollution. We can also meet clean air standards, and reduce the health disparities and chronic disease burdens. Big picture: too many communities have been negatively impacted, far too long, by transportation, industrial, and other sources of pollution. The ClimatePlan network can play an important role in pushing for a stronger focus in reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT). This reduction in VMT will be needed to hit our climate standards and to build healthier, more equitable communities throughout California.
What are your goals and/or ideal outcomes for the 2022 Scoping Plan?
In an ideal situation, the Scoping Plan process will provide a clear view of health impacts and benefits of the climate actions that are being proposed. Moreover, the plan will ideally highlight where the benefits of those actions can be targeted to best address pollution and health disparities. We want to emphasize that near-term actions that clean up the air, improve health, and reduce disparities really should be the focus of this plan. Our current climate targets are for 2030 and 2045, but the need is for near-term actions that reduce pollution and improve health immediately.
How is the 2022 Scoping Plan similar or different from past Scoping Plans you’ve been a part of?
This 2022 Scoping Plan is different because we know how much more severe and serious the public health impacts of climate change actually are, and which communities are most impacted. We need to move much faster and be much more aggressive to meet our climate standards and protect public health.
It’s important to remember that California has the most difficult air pollution challenges in the United States. We’ve made a lot of progress toward clean air, but we know that climate change is making the job of cleaning our air much more difficult and the benefits haven't been equally distributed.
We see the impacts of this in the American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air report where 7 of the 10 smoggiest cities in the United States are in California. We also know that 6 of the 10 most polluted cities by particle pollution are in California.
When we see extreme heat and wildfires, we know that keeping the air clean – and maintaining clean air progress - is much more difficult. Too many communities in California face extreme air pollution burdens and these tend to be low-income communities and communities of color. We need to see that strong climate actions are informed by these communities, and are benefiting them.
How can folks get involved or engaged in the 2022 Scoping Plan?
- Pay attention to when CARB hosts workshops. You can subscribe to their mailing list for notices about upcoming opportunities and workshops.
- Connect with ClimatePlan for coordination on some of the transportation policy issues, but also know that the Scoping Plan is much broader than transportation – natural and working lands, energy issues, and others all intersect in this conversation.
Thanks, Will! Thanks for all that you’re doing on this front.
To connect with ClimatePlan on the 2022 Climate Change Scoping Plan, reach out to Nailah Pope-Harden at [email protected].