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 Dr. Liz Anthony met with senior CARB officials, including Executive Officer Richard Corey, to brief them on the deficiencies and poor performance of the CPUC’s modeling work in the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). We pointed out that actual emissions of the California grid are significantly higher than the level of emissions assumed in the E3 RESOLVE model. As a result, the CPUC’s IRP reference plan doesn’t achieve the emission reductions needed to reach the state’s 2030 GHG target.

In addition, we noted that the CPUC’s IRP reference plan would result in an increase in emissions of criteria air pollutants in 2030, illustrating the point we have been making for the past several months that simply increasing renewable kilowatt hours on the grid without reducing our dependence on gas for reliability won’t achieve GHG targets or reduce criteria pollutants. CARB staff was responsive to our suggestions, and eager to develop independent analyses of grid operations and emissions trajectories.


Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs)

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

CEERT participated in the Dairy and Livestock Working Group (DLWG), which comprises three subgroups (SG) focusing on fostering markets for non-digester projects, fostering markets for digester projects, and identifying research needs. During the fall the SGs reviewed technical issues and developed draft recommendations and supporting documentation, followed on December 2by a final joint convening. All the SG recommendations are in a document on the DLWG webpage. Most of the recommendations deal with the economics of handling and processing dairy manure for value-added products, and the need to develop further incentives to reduce methane emissions from dairies.

The recommendations make clear that CARB, the CEC, the CPUC, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture still have much groundwork to undertake on the very difficult problem of treating and handling manure before a fully realized, holistic program can be implemented that effectively and economically mitigates dairy methane emissions while avoiding any unintended impacts.

Representatives from the environmental and environmental justice community cautioned that, if monies are allocated to dairies, priority should be given to non-digester practices and technologies. Furthermore, public investments should not automatically go to fund projects that have built-in preferences for large-scale agricultural operations, and, should avoid any negative impacts on the air and water quality in adjacent communities, especially disadvantaged communities. Caution was also made to avoid a mad rush to use Greenhouse Gas Reduction Funds (GGRF) to support dairies in methane reduction efforts, given the significant needs and opportunities for priority investments from GGRF elsewhere in the state.

CalRecycle is beginning a rulemaking process on reducing methane emissions from organic wastes as part of its SLCP Reduction Strategy implementation. This involves a 45-day period for receiving written comments, followed by a public hearing.