PARIS, FRANCE – As part of the California delegation to COP21 in France, Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) announced a groundbreaking climate change proposal that will set targets to achieve a 50% reduction in black carbon emissions, a 40% reduction in methane, and a 40% reduction in f-gases in the state of California by 2030. In 2013, Senator Lara authored Senate Bill 605 which directed the Air Resources Board to outline a draft strategy to combat Short Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCP). That draft strategy was released in September 2015 and the legislation Senator Lara is announcing today aims to implement the draft strategy's recommendations.
"Short-Lived Climate Pollutants are among the most harmful emissions to both community health, local air quality and global climate change," said Senator Lara. "These include black carbon, methane and fluorinated gases that can have an impact a hundreds of times greater than CO2, contributing about 40% to global radiative forcing – the effect that causes climate change. The exchange of ideas at COP21 are important for a global reduction strategy, however the impact of climate change is felt most acutely at the local level. My proposal will continue placing California at the vanguard of climate change policy and ensure that our most disadvantaged and vulnerable communities - which are disproportionately affected - benefit from a proactive, lasting reduction strategy in short lived climate pollutants."
Short-lived climate pollutants are powerful climate forcers that remain in the atmosphere for a much shorter period of time than longer-lived climate pollutants, such as carbon dioxide (CO2). Their relative potency, when measured in terms of how they heat the atmosphere, can be tens, hundreds, or even thousands of times greater than that of CO2. The impacts of short-lived climate pollutants are especially strong over the short term. Reducing these emissions can make an immediate beneficial impact on climate change.
As a result of Senate Bill 605, authored by Senator Lara, the Air Resources Board released a report in September that describes proposed actions the State will take to move forward aggressively to reduce emissions of SLCPs and help meet Governor Brown’s goal of reducing greenhouse gases 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Act of 2016
Senator Lara's Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Act of 2016 will require that by January 1, 2018, the state Air Resources Board approve an implement a strategy to reduce statewide emissions of short-lived climate pollutants to achieve a reduction in emissions of methane by 40%, F-gases by 40% and black carbon by 50% below 2013 levels by the year 2030.
"My proposal will help reduce health risks associated with poor air quality and provide opportunity for economic investment and growth," added Lara.
Advocates reacted to the legislation:
Sekita Grant, Legal Counsel, Environmental Equity at the Greenlining Institute added: “From busy freeways to landfills to ports, low-income communities of color remain in the crossfire of deadly short-lived climate pollutants such as soot from smokestacks and trucks. This significant and often underrepresented issue requires aggressive, science-based policies, and we commend Senator Lara for being the champion we need and representing disadvantaged communities throughout California."
“Senator Lara is once again taking on the dangers of black carbon,” said Dan Jacobson, State Director for Environment California. “As California wrestles with the dangers of climate change, black carbon is the biggest and most immediate threat that we have to tackle. Senator Lara’s bill will work to ensure we are taking the dangerous air pollutants out of the air quickly and improve the health of Californians immediately .”
“These super-pollutants are rapidly changing our climate and often damaging the health of the public at the same time. We look forward to working with Senator Lara to pass this important legislation to protect our air and atmosphere,” said Bill Magavern, Policy Director, Coalition for Clean Air.
Bonnie Holmes-Gen, Senior Policy Director at the American Lung Association of California said “We commend Senator Lara for proposing this important legislation that will improve health outcomes for families across the state, particularly those in underserved communities.”
"Black carbon, methane and F-gas emissions harm our state's most vulnerable populations. We must address the fact that communities of color bear the brunt of bad climate policy and high levels of pollution. Senator Lara's bill is an important step in reducing short-lived climate pollutants so that public health improves and California communities prosper,” said Ingrid Brostrom, Senior Attorney for the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment.
The legislation will be formally introduced early 2016.
For more information on the Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Act, please visit: http://sd33.senate.ca.gov/slcp
For more information on the Senate’s delegation to COP21, please visit: http://focus.senate.ca.gov/paris