Calif.: Climate-change laws leader; black carbon, methane, fluorinated gases bill signed

California is the nation’s undisputed leader in the effort to regulate and tackle global warming emissions.

The_Earth_seen_from_Apollo_17[1]On Monday, Sept. 20, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown affixed his signature to California Senate Bill (SB) 1383 introduced by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), this according to information in a California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board (ARB) press release. This registers as the third in a string of climate bill signings: SB 32 on Sept. 8th and AB 1550, AB 1613, AB 2722 and SB 859 on Sept. 14th. (See: “More money to fight warming, polluted air in California issued”). “If followed worldwide, these acts would help cut the projected rate of global warming in half by 2050.

“‘Cutting black carbon and other super pollutants is the critical next step in our program to combat climate change,’ said Governor Brown at a signing ceremony near a Long Beach playground bordered by oil refinery smokestacks. ‘This bill curbs these dangerous pollutants and thereby protects public health and slows climate change.’

“SB 1383 reduces the emission of super pollutants (also known as short-lived climate pollutants) and promotes renewable gas by requiring a 50 percent reduction in black carbon and 40 percent reduction in methane and hydrofluorocarbon from 2013 levels by 2030,” the ARB went on in the release to state. “Sources of these super pollutants include petroleum-based transportation fuels, agriculture, waste disposal and synthetic gases used in refrigeration, air conditioning and aerosol products.”

Short-lived climate pollutants or SLCPs such as methane (CH4) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) account for around 18 percent of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions – the majority or the bulk consisting of carbon dioxide (CO2) gas (82 percent). But their ability to trap and retain heat (hence the term “heat-trapping gases”) is far greater. Meanwhile, according to the ARB, 20 percent of global warming can be attributed directly to emissions of methane.

SLCPs like the above-mentioned are released into the air from sources such as diesel exhaust, cook stoves and brick-making ovens, oil and natural gas production leakage and flaring, as well as from disposal of municipal solid waste, as pointed out in the Air Quality Matters post: “Black carbon a major air pollution culprit.”

And, as for black carbon, also in the same post it is stated: “Globally, 19 percent of emissions coming from the transportation sector is black carbon, estimates the UNEP [United Nations Environment Programme], a relatively large percentage of which is exhausted from the engines of diesel vehicles.”

Improving air, addressing warming

“California’s ongoing efforts to improve air quality and address climate change have already led to important reductions in super pollutants, and have provided a strong foundation for today’s legislation. SB 605 by Senator Lara, signed by Governor Brown in 2014, directed the California Air Resources Board to develop a comprehensive strategy for addressing super pollutants, which ultimately included reduction targets now set forth in this legislation. During last year’s Climate Week in New York, the Governor gave remarks at an event hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme, where he outlined goals for cutting super pollutants that are now codified by today’s legislation,” the state air regulatory agency further reported.

For more related to this, see: “ARB releases plan to slash short-lived climate pollutants” and “Governor Brown Announces 14 New Signatories to the Under 2 MOU Climate Agreement at Ceremony in New York.”

Image above: NASA

Published by Alan Kandel