California Carbon Challenge


How Should California Address Climate Change?

The California Carbon Challenge is a simulation of some tough choices policymakers face in seeking to address climate change.

In 2006, California passed the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) which requires California to reduce its emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses to a specified target by the year 2020. In the fall of 2016, California passed Senate Bill 32 (SB 32), which further requires that statewide greenhouse gas emissions are reduced to 40% below the 1990 level by 2030. The California Carbon Challenge lets you decide how to reach the state’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal. Some decisions have already been made by state officials, but you can choose whatever policy choices you like. How will you reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

Start Now!

How should California reduce its carbon emissions? Start Now!

How the Carbon Challenge was Developed

For each policy choice included in the Challenge, we have estimated the amount of emissions reductions and the cost to individuals, businesses, or government. These estimates are based on the best research and modeling available, but there is always some uncertainty associated with estimating the effects of complex policies that will take effect over years or decades. For more information on the estimation methodology behind the policy choices, please visit our Methodology Page. Next 10 thanks USC’s Price School of Public Policy and it’s team of Practicum researchers (James Welsh, Katie Zuniga, and Claire Xiang) for their early work on the Challenge.

The Current Situation

California needs to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) to 40% below 1990 levels by the year 2030.The state has a plan to accomplish this goal, but there are other ways to do the same thing. In the Carbon Challenge, we’ve included many of the options from the state’s plan, as well as many others that were not included. If you choose all of the options state officials have already started implementing, you’ll meet the goal. But that’s not the only way. Take the Challenge and see if you can do the job.

Who Pays for Emissions Reductions?

Most of the choices for reducing emissions impose costs on individuals, businesses, or government, at least initially. In the Carbon Challenge, we have estimated the cost for each choice, and indicated who pays. We have also calculated the cost per ton of reductions. Through the choices you select, you can indicate whether individuals, businesses, or government should pay the costs of reducing emissions, and see if you can reduce emissions at a lower cost compared to other Carbon Challenge users.