The bill includes incentives for businesses and residents to replace HFCs with low-GWP alternatives.
California State Senator Ricardo Lara
California Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) Wednesday introduced the California Cooling Act (Senate Bill 1013), which restricts the use of HFC refrigerants in air conditioners and refrigeration.
Notably, California Cooling Act includes incentives for businesses and residents “to speed the replacement of these compounds with alternatives that have lower global warming potential,” the bill said. Alternatives could include natural refrigerant equipment.
The bill would empower the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which has already made HFC-reduction part of its Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Strategy, to move forward with additional regulations to reduce emissions of HFCs.
The bill comes in the wake of the refusal of a U.S. Court of Appeals to rehear a decision it made last August stopping the Environmental Protection Agency from prohibiting HFCs.
“Super-pollutants from refrigerants are one of the biggest threats to our planet’s health, contributing to climate disasters like wildfires and extreme heat events,” said Lara. “But we are not alone in this fight. American businesses are ready to roll up their sleeves to meet our clean air goals, and we can’t be held hostage to global polluters and lack of action by the Trump Administration. The California Cooling Act supports companies as they develop alternatives to these dangerous super-pollutants and keeps California in the lead on cleaner air.”
“The California Cooling Act supports companies as they develop alternatives to these dangerous super-pollutants and keeps California in the lead on cleaner air.”
– California State Senator Ricardo Lara
Lara originally proposed the bill last November at the 23rd UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany, , where he described HFCs as “a silent assassin that threatens our global climate.”
In 2016, Lara authored the Super Pollutant Reduction Act (Senate Bill 1383), which committed California to reduce HFC emissions 40% by 2030.
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC) jointly applauded Senator Lara for introducing the bill.
“California’s 2030 emission reduction targets require measures that go well beyond the existing federal framework,” said Christina Starr, EIA climate policy analyst. “By pairing additional regulations with an incentive program, this bill provides both the carrot and the stick needed to rapidly reduce HFC emissions and serves as a potential blueprint for other states to follow.”
“In order to be successful, it is critical for low-GWP regulations to go hand-in-hand with incentives or other financial mechanisms to reduce the burden on end-users,” said Danielle Wright, NASRC executive director. “This incentive program could act as a catalyst to drive dramatic market transformation not just in California but across the nation.”
Hearings on the bill will be scheduled beginning in late March or early April.