Advocacy at the California Air Resources Board (CARB)

Part 3 CA State Code

California’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) requires close collaboration by the Air Resources Board, Public Utilities Commission, Energy Commission, and Independent System Operator to plan and implement the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in California back to 1990 levels by 2020. To help guide this process, CEERT developed a forecast of what success in this effort might look like in our “2020 Vision” analysis. We also sponsored a symposium of some of the world’s leading climate scientists on how to improve on the climate targets in the Kyoto protocols.

Recent Developments:

V. John White and Liz Anthony participated in the CARB joint workshop with the CPUC on Integrated Resource Planning (IRP). John pointed out the errors in the modeling assumptions and the unsupported conclusion that no additional renewable procurement to achieve GHG reductions would be needed until 2028, despite evidence in the CPUC’s own modeling that additional procurement was necessary before 2023 to prevent an increase in GHG emissions associated with the retirement of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. John urged CARB to vigorously oversee the CPUC’s IRP assumptions and recommendations, and not accept the CPUC’s arguments in favor of a higher trajectory of GHG emission reductions and a much lower power-sector target for 2030 GHG reductions.

Following the workshop, Liz gave CARB detailed comments identifying errors and misstatements of fact in the CPUC IRP decision. We are planning a follow-up meeting with CARB staff to discuss next steps.

Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs)

Methane Emissions
California has a target of a 40% reduction in methane from 2013 levels by 2030.  At 45%, dairies dominate the state’s methane emissions, followed by landfills at 20% and other livestock at 10%.

In 2017, CARB and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), the CEC, and the CPUC established a Dairy/Livestock Working Group (DLWG) of stakeholders that will help the agencies address technical, market, regulatory, and other challenges to developing methane emissions reduction projects for dairies and livestock.

CEERT is participating in the DLWG, which has three subgroups (SG) focusing on: 1) Fostering Markets for Non-Digester Projects; 2) Fostering Markets for Digester Projects; and 3) Identifying Research Needs.  Because of the breadth and complexity of the topics, the SGs will continue to meet and review technical issues through the spring, which should lead to final reports by year-end.  (The agencies will consult these reports to inform their future policy and regulatory work on reducing the state’s methane emissions.)

CalRecycle aims to help the state achieve SB 1383 targets of a 50% reduction in statewide disposal of organic waste from the 2014 level by 2020 and a 75% reduction by 2025.  In 2017, CalRecycle held four series of consultative workshops to review regulatory concepts on local organic waste collection systems, solid waste facilities, edible food recovery, emissions quantification, reporting and enforcement.  Two series of workshops followed, the first on regulatory concepts for market development and recycling capacity planning, and the second to review draft regulatory language issued in October 2017 and to further discuss the SB 1383 implementation process.  CalRecycle is due to release a second draft of regulatory language for review and public feedback as part of another series of workshops to be held in early May.

CalRecycle’s goal is to adopt a final set of regulations by late 2018 or early 2019.  CEERT will continue to work closely with our colleagues at Californians Against Waste on the CalRecycle process.

Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) Emissions
California seeks a 40% reduction in HFCs (the fastest-growing source of GHGs, which have a GWP (global warming potential) hundreds to thousands of times stronger than CO2) below 2013 levels by 2030.

In 2017 CARB staff investigated how international treaties and federal law might help California achieve this goal.  CARB analysis indicated that following the international Kigali Agreement would not get the state halfway to its goal.  (While the US is a signatory to the Agreement, Congress has yet to ratify it.)  And the federal SNAP (Significant New Alternatives Policy) Program — which identifies “acceptable” and “unacceptable” ozone-destroying substances (ODSs), bans the use of high-GWP gases, and suggests ODS replacements — is currently tied up in court.  Therefore, CARB proposed adopting federal provisions into California code by reference, making them enforceable under state law.

CARB staff’s analysis indicates that the Kigali and SNAP provisions could each account for roughly 25% of California’s needed reductions by 2030.  In order to achieve the HFC reduction goals, and as part of a proposed regulatory package issued on January 30, CARB staff proposed banning the use or sale of high-GWP refrigerants (especially in new commercial refrigeration equipment and the manufacture of foams), and ensuring that codes and standards were updated so low-GWP refrigerants could be used in in the state.  These California-specific efforts would account for another 45% of needed reductions, with 5% of reductions remaining.  The Board approved the proposed set of regulations at its March 23 hearing.  CARB staff will take up outstanding issues on HFCs in a future rulemaking.