13 Sept 2018
California Approves Legislation to Reduce HFC Emissions
The California legislature recently approved a bill preserving targets for reducing harmful super-polluting hydrofluorocarbons in new refrigerators, air conditioners and other products that were adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Obama administration but were subsequently struck down by a federal appellate court. Senator Ricardo Lara introduced the California Cooling Act (SB 1013) at the United Nations Climate Conference in Bonn, Germany, where he and California Governor Jerry Brown received the first climate and clean air award for their work on short-lived climate pollutants legislation.
According to a press release by Sen. Lara, the California Cooling Act would encourage alternatives to HFCs and allow the California Air Resources Board to offer incentives to businesses pursuing cleaner alternatives. Specifically, the legislation would apply all prohibitions on the use of class I substances, class II substances and substitutes under the federal Clean Air Act as it read on 15 November 1990 (with respect to class I and class II substances) and 3 January 2017 (with respect to substitutes). The prohibitions on residential consumer refrigeration products, except compact and built-in products, would take effect on 1 January 2022, while the prohibitions on built-in consumer refrigeration products would apply from 1 January 2013.
CARB would also be required to prioritise incentives for (i) low-global warming potential alternatives that maximise emissions reductions and focus on key cooling sectors where technology is commercially available, and (ii) the use of low-global warming potential alternatives in new technologies for which higher upfront costs, compared with HFC systems, have been identified as a market impediment.
The California legislature also recently approved separate landmark legislation aimed at accelerating the state’s transition to a clean energy economy. According to a press release by the Natural Resources Defense Council, SB 100 accelerates by four years the previous commitment to reach 50 percent renewable energy by 2030 and establishes a new goal for California to reach 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2045.