RIVERSIDE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Late yesterday, following much anticipation during a multi-year stakeholder consultation process, California’s Air Resources Board (ARB) approved a strategic blueprint to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs). This includes, among others, some of the most potent greenhouse gases in the world, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The approved SLCP Strategy outlines essential measures to reduce HFCs that ARB will examine as it drafts new regulations to meet the state’s 2030 emission targets.
“Finalizing this strategy is an important step forward at a time when California’s leadership is needed more than ever,” said Christina Starr, EIA Climate Policy Analyst. “We hope ARB will expedite the new rulemaking process, and urge the agency to remain steadfast in setting global warming potential (GWP) thresholds low enough for proposed equipment bans to be most effective, which will encourage uptake of the most climate friendly refrigerants.”
HFC emissions are the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases in both California and globally. Under a business-as-usual scenario that includes rules already passed at the federal level, HFCs are forecast to contribute 71 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent emissions annually in the state by 2030. The potential measures to curb HFCs include bans on high-GWP refrigerants and new equipment that uses them, as well as financial incentives for early adoption of climate friendly refrigerants.
“If California meets its goal, it will see about as much emissions reductions from HFCs in 2030 as from shutting 12 coal fired power plants,” said Avipsa Mahapatra, EIA Climate Campaign Lead. “This plan will also have cascading effects for producers, importers, distributors, manufacturers, contractors, and consumers beyond the state. This could transform the American cooling market by scaling up already available and efficient climate friendly refrigeration and air conditioning technologies.”
Although the global community reached a landmark agreement last October to phase down HFCs under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, federal regulations necessary for implementation of the Amendment in the United States, which were passed by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Obama Administration now face substantial uncertainty.
A number of stakeholders from both industry and other groups, including EIA, delivered oral testimony at yesterday’s Board Meeting, all in support of the proposed strategy for HFCs.