Image source does not exist News Release: 2016-11-28 Air Resources Board posts revised draft of strategy to reduce "Super Pollutants"

Release #:16-58a

ARB PIO: (916) 322-2990

Dave Clegern
(916) 322-2990

Air Resources Board posts revised draft of strategy to reduce "Super Pollutants"

Highlights need for strong collaborative efforts to reduce methane, other short-lived climate pollutants

SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board (CARB) today posted a revised draft of California's proposed Short-Lived Climate Pollutant (SLCP) Strategy. SLCPs are a category of pollutants that remain in the atmosphere for a relatively brief period, but have global warming potentials that are much higher than those of carbon dioxide (CO2).

SLCPs may account for an estimated 40 percent of global warming, increasing the impacts of climate change.

"Science tells us that controlling these climate super pollutants will buy time for countries to make the transition to clean energy while continuing to grow their economies," CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols said. "With help from agriculture and industry partners California is reducing waste and cutting the most dangerous emissions. This strategy shows the world how to do it."

SLCPs include methane, black carbon (soot) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are used as refrigerants, aerosol propellants and insulation.

The major sources of methane in California are livestock, followed by landfills and oil and gas production. Methane is 72 times more efficient at trapping heat in the atmosphere than CO2, which is the most prevalent global warming gas. CO2 remains in the atmosphere for up to a century. Methane and the other SLCPs have much shorter lives, but do disproportionate damage.

New legislation (Senate Bill 1383, Lara) requires, among other things, that state agencies and affected stakeholders develop measures to reduce methane emissions from dairy and other livestock operations. The revised draft of the SLCP Strategy includes a more detailed look at how this might be accomplished through extensive collaboration with the industry and other stakeholders. The draft SLCP Strategy also takes into consideration public and stakeholder comments on other aspects of the revised strategy, as well as other legislative requirements.

CARB began publicly evaluating controls for SLCPs with the first AB 32 Scoping Plan in 2008. Since then Governor Brown signed SB 32 (Pavley), codifying a reductions target for statewide GHG emissions of 40 percent below 1990 emission levels by 2030. SLCP emission reductions will support achieving these targets. Also, Senate Bill 605 (Lara, 2014) requires ARB to develop a plan to reduce emissions of SLCPs, while SB 1383 requires the Board to complete and approve the plan by January 1, 2018. SB 1383 also sets targets for statewide reductions in SLCP emissions of 40 percent below 2013 levels by 2030 for methane and HFCs and 50 percent below 2013 levels by 2030 for human-caused black carbon, as well as provides specific direction for reductions from dairy and livestock operations and from landfills by diverting organic waste.

The payoff from investments to reduce SLCP emissions will be seen in the near term --over the coming 15 years --while the larger efforts to turn the tide on CO2 gain traction and ratchet down emissions over the coming decades. Research now shows that immediate action to cut super pollutants in California will reduce damage to forests and crops, lower background ozone and help clean the air in the state's most polluted regions, including the Central Valley.

The SLCP Strategy is due to come before the Board for consideration in March 2017.

Find the newest draft Strategy here.

ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.