California Air Resources Board Proposes Additional Early Action Measures Pursuant to the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32)

By Randolph C. Visser and Olivier F. Theard

Pursuant to AB 32 (the Global Warming Solutions Act) the California Air Resources Board (CARB) recently announced that it would go beyond the minimum statutory requirements and has proposed additional “early action measures” designed to help California achieve its statutory goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020.If adopted, the new measures will significantly increase the current list of early action measures which were approved by CARB in June 2007.

In June, CARB fulfilled its statutory requirement by approving three discrete early action measures.The previously approved measures are:

(1) Creation of a low-carbon fuel standard

(2) Reduction of HFC emissions from non-professional (i.e., “do-it-yourself”) motor vehicle air conditioning systems, and;

(3) Improved landfill methane capture.

The new proposed measures, which will likely be adopted and enforced by CARB by January 1, 2010, are the following:

Early Action MeasureEstimated Reduction (in million metric tons CO2 equivalent)Banning use of Sulfur Hexaflouride from non-essential applications if viable alternatives availableTBDEstablish standards to reduce aerosol emissions, tire inflator emissions, and emissions from electronics cleaners and dust removal products0.3Require Existing trucks and trailers to be retrofitted to reduce aerodynamic drag1.3Require tune-up and oil change mechanics to ensure proper tire inflation as part of regular service0.2Reduce emissions of perfluorocarbons in the semiconductor industry0.5Allow docked ships to shut off auxiliary engines by plugging into electrical outlets onshore0.5

In addition to the statutory “early action measures,” CARB proposed a set of other actions which may also be implemented to reduce greenhouse gas emissions:

Additional Proposed ActionsEstimated Reduction (in million metric tons CO2 equivalent)Enhance monitoring, enforcement and recovery of refrigerants, including hydrofluorocarbons1.25Improve energy efficiency of cement facilities2Allow increased blending of cement with materials such as fly ash, limestone and slag0.5Increase compliance with anti-idling regulations0.7Research regarding how to reduce NOX emissions from fertilizer applicationsTBD

CARB estimates that these proposed actions, along with earlier approved measures and other programs in development by California’s Climate Action Team, will reduce emissions by more than 36 million metric tons by 2020.This is approximately 21% of the total needed to meet AB 32’s goal of reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

CARB will hold a public workshop on these new proposed measures September 17 in Sacramento.CARB is currently scheduled to vote on the new measures October 25-26 in Sacramento.

For more information please contact Randolph C. Visser and Olivier F. Theard. Randy Visser is a partner in the Construction, Environmental, Real Estate and Land Use Litigation Practice Group in the firm’s Los Angeles office. Olivier Theard is an associate in the Business Trial Practice Group and the Environmental and Construction Practice Group in the firm’s Los Angeles office.