Lara’s Super Pollutant Reduction Act Clears Key Policy Committee

April 06, 2016

SACRAMENTO, CA  – A groundbreaking climate change proposal authored by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) cleared the Senate Environmental Quality Committee by a vote of 4 to 2. Senate Bill 1383 sets goals 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. 

“These pollutants, including black carbon, methane, and fluorinated gases are among most harmful emissions to both human health and global climate change,” said Senator Lara. “Although they remain in the atmosphere for a shorter duration than CO2, their impact is significantly more dramatic. There is an urgent need to develop a strategy to address and reduce these deadly pollutants.  Extensive research links particulate pollution and increased ozone levels to severe and chronic health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and asthma.  These impacts are most profound in children and we must do something about it.”   

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. 
Senator Lara's Super Pollutant Reduction Act of 2016  will require that by January 1, 2018, the state Air Resources Board approve and 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. 
Thirty three health organizations submitted a letter of support for this legislation, including the following advocates:

"The American Lung Association in California strongly supports SB 1383 (Lara) as a critical tool to improve health. We must act without delay to reduce super-pollutant emissions and avoid even more hospital visits, missed school days and premature deaths. By focusing on cutting super pollutants now we can immediately slow climate change, save lives today and reduce pollution health impacts for our children and future generations," said Bruce Bekkar, MD, Volunteer Physician, American Lung Association in California, Doctors for Climate Health
“As physicians representing a coalition of more than 50 diverse ethnic physician organizations in California, we applaud SB 1383 because it will help our communities who are already burdened by toxic air pollution. By reducing these health-damaging pollutants such as black carbon and methane, we can provide immediate health benefits to our most at-risk communities and safeguard health from the worst impacts of climate change,” said Kyla Aquino Irving, Director of the Network of Ethnic Physician Organizations (NEPO). 
“California pediatricians strongly support SB 1383. According to the World Health Organization, more than 80% of the current health burden due to the changing climate occurs in children younger than five years old. As climate change accelerates, children will continue to suffer disproportionately because they breathe faster and spend more time outside, and therefore have a greater opportunity for exposure to pollutants,” said Kris Calvin, President & CEO of the American Academy of Pediatrics in California.
"Actions to reduce climate super-pollutants are absolutely essential to address the myriad impacts of climate change on our health. These actions directly benefit our health, for example through improved air quality and decreasing food insecurity by diverting edible foods from landfills," said Linda Rudolph, MD, MPH, Director, Center for Climate Change and Health, Public Health Institute. 
"Our mission at Dignity Health is to promote health and healing. We know that we cannot have healthy people, healthy communities without a healthy planet. We join with our health and business colleagues who call for bold climate leadership and the need for ambitious targets to quickly reduce the most harmful emissions to both human health and global climate change," said Rachelle Wenger, Director of Public Policy & Community Advocacy, Dignity Health.