California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard rule in op-ed questioned

640px-California's_Central_ValleyIn the July 17, 2013 The Fresno Bee, Madera County (California) District 3 Supervisor Rick Farinelli in “Fuel ‘experiment’ puts communities at risk,” asserted, “… California accounts for only a miniscule percentage of the world’s carbon emissions.”

“Miniscule,” huh?

Apparently, Supervisor Farinelli isn’t aware California is the world’s 12th largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions producer.

“To try to put what being the world’s 12th largest greenhouse gas emitter means in more meaningful terms, remember the United Nations Climate Change Conference (known more familiarly as the Copenhagen Summit) held in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2009? Well, the conference convened representative leaders from 192 nations. At any rate, California, if thought of as an independent nation, its greenhouse gas emissions would surpass the GHG outputs of approximately 93 percent, or 179 out of those 192 countries,” as I explained in “Global greenhouse gas emissions reduction a work in progress.”

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is but one greenhouse gas (there are six in all) and, in California, the predominant one.

And as to CO2, the California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board (ARB) in the report: “California Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory: 2000-2009,” reported is that California’s “Greenhouse Gas Gross Emissions” (measured in million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent or MMTCO2e), dropped from 408.9 (MMTCO2e) in 2000 to 393.2 (MMTCO2e) in 2009, after reaching a high of 429.7 (MMTCO2e) in 2004,1 a sign of progress most definitely.

Further, CO2 emissions in 2009 from all sectors in California, represented 86.1 percent of all “Gross GHG Emissions” emitted; the largest contribution of total California GHG.2

The transportation sector contributed 173 gross MMTCO2e emissions and represented 37.9 percent of GHG emissions from all sectors; this in California also in 2009.3 Of that amount, the bulk (92.6 percent) was generated by “Onroad” sources.4

Meanwhile, in 2006, California Assembly Bill 32 (the Global Warming Solutions Act) was signed into law. As indicated by the ARB in its “Key Events in the History of Air Quality in California” (“Key Events”) page, “The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 establishes the first-in-the-world comprehensive program of regulatory and market mechanisms to achieve real, quantifiable, cost-effective reductions in greenhouse gases (GHG). It makes the ARB responsible for monitoring and reducing GHG emissions.”

The above provides important perspective.

Now, in getting back to The Fresno Bee op-ed in question, as I understand it, Supervisor Farinelli contends that San Joaquin Valley motorists can ill-afford to observe the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) requirement at this time and, in the LCFS going forward, this will be costly to not just drivers in the Valley but to those across the state as well.

Moreover, “The LCFS is infeasible because there is currently not enough low-carbon fuel to go around, and what there is will be enormously expensive,” Supervisor Farinelli wrote in the Bee. “Further, low-carbon fuel technology is not sufficiently advanced to provide adequate, reliable supplies in the foreseeable future.”

It should be noted that low-carbon-content fuel use coupled with increased vehicle fuel- and mileage-efficiency gains, together, could, and most likely would, result in significant savings over the long-term.

Low Carbon Fuel Standard

In 2009, and also from the “Key Events” page, there is this: “ARB adopts the Low Carbon Fuel Standard aimed at diversifying fuels used for transportation which will achieve 16 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emission reductions by 2020. The regulation is described as the most important early-actions called for under AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act.”


  1. “California Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory: 2000-2009” report,” California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board (ARB), Dec. 2011, p. 10.
  2. Ibid. p. 11.
  3. Ibid. p. 24.
  4. Ibid. p. 24.

– Alan Kandel