California Steps in to Protect Obama Rules on Super-Polluting Refrigeration Gases

May 30, 2018

California Cooling Act (SB 1013) would restore rules threatened by legal attack by foreign companies

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Today California took a bold step in the global fight against super-pollutants in refrigeration as the Senate passed the California Cooling Act, Senate Bill 1013, authored by Senator Lara (D-Bell Gardens).

Sen. Lara wrote the landmark Super Pollutant Reduction Act (SB 1383) in 2016, which put the state on path 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. 

Unlike CO2, black carbon and methane, F-gases have not received a great deal of attention. They are commonly used in refrigeration, and these super-pollutants can be thousands of times more powerful than CO2.

The Obama Administration clamped down on F-gases in 2015, but the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia overturned the rule after two foreign chemical makers sued. While the Trump Administration has not defended the rule, U.S. environmentalists and two major chemical companies asked the court to rehear the case.

American companies say they have invested more than $1 billion to replace HFCs.

“Strong leadership from the federal government is the ideal path forward to dealing with super-polluting F-gases, but unfortunately we do not live in that world,” said Senator Lara. “California cannot sit idly while foreign companies and the Trump administration undermine international cooperation on super-pollutants. The California Cooling Act is essential to continue our momentum.”

The California Cooling Act will encourage companies to switch to less-polluting alternatives to F-gases by adopting certain provisions of the federal rules into state law and authorizing the ARB to seek increased funding to provide financial incentives to businesses.”

Experts predict that a global F-gas phase down will help 0.5ºC of warming by 2100. Reducing these emissions will have a significant impact in the fight against climate change. 

Senator Lara and Governor Jerry Brown accepted the first ever Climate and Clean Air Award at the United Nations Climate Conference in Germany on Nov. 12 for taking bold action on F-gases and other pollutants.

The California Cooling Act now goes to the Assembly for hearings.