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California ARB Approves Early Action Measures on GHG Emissions: Low-Carbon Fuel Standard, Mobile Air Conditioning, and Methane Capture

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) on Thursday approved three early action measures to address climate change emissions as set forth in the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32). (Earlier post.)

The early actions include three specific greenhouse gas control rules that are to be adopted and enforced before January 1, 2010, along with 32 other climate-protecting measures the Board is developing between now and 2011. Early actions fall into three categories:

  • Group 1: GHG rules for immediate adoption and implementation

  • Group 2: Several additional GHG measures under development

  • Group 3: Air pollution controls with potential climate co-benefits

The three adopted regulations are in the Group 1 category. They are:

  • The Governor’s Low-Carbon Fuel Standard to reduce the carbon intensity in California fuels by 10% by 2020;

  • Reduction of refrigerant losses from motor vehicle air conditioning system maintenance by restricting the sale of “do-it-yourself” automotive refrigerants; and

  • Increased methane capture from landfills—requiring broader use of state-of-the-art methane capture technologies.

ARB staff estimates that the combination of these three actions will reduce GHG emissions between 13 and 26 million metric tons (of) carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2E) annually by 2020 relative to projected levels.

ARB is initiating work on another 23 GHG emission reduction measures in the 2007- 2009 time period, with rulemaking to occur as soon as possible where applicable. The approval of the first three measures does not restrict the Board from making additions to the early actions list.

Of the three measures, the greatest reductions will come from the Low-Carbon Fuel Standard—an estimated 10-20 MMTCO2E annually by 2020. Reduction of HFC-134a emissions from nonprofessional servicing of motor vehicle air conditioning systems (MVACs) will contribute 1-2 MMTCO2E by 2020, and improved methane capture at landfills will contribute 2-4 MMTCO2E.

The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 mandates that California’s greenhouse gas emissions be reduced to 1990 levels by 2020, a 25% percent cut in emissions compared to business as usual. ARB must adopt a comprehensive blueprint for achieving that goal by the end of 2008 and complete the necessary rulemaking to implement that plan by the end of 2011.




Batter Safe than Sorry. Nanosafe that is!
An idea.


The landfill methane seems like a no brainer. Why isn't everyone doing this? It's baseload renewable energy (sort of) that's just getting flared (at best) or escaping (at worst). Sure, each project is typically pretty small, but they add up, enhance the reliability of the grid, and make use of an energy source that is, for the most part, being wasted.


Why not burn trash as well? That would release more CO2, but prevent CH4 release from landfills; with methane 23 times more potent than CO2 by weight as a greenhouse gas, on balance that's a win. You also get electrical energy as a side-benefit; or that's the major benefit and reduced CO2 equivalent is the side benefit, depending on whom you talk to. Also reduced landfill costs and land use, win-win-win.

For example, the state of Connecticut generates 1000 lb/person/year of solid waste, recycles about 25% and burns about 64%, so they only landfill 110 lbs/person/year!

Does anyone know how this math changes with recent state-of-the-art landfill methane capture, in terms of energy and GHG?

[q->t to email]


the main problem with burning trash is that it's totally unpredictable and requires extensive (and expensive) scrubbing of the exhaust gas. Consider all the crap that goes into landfills, and how much of it is extremely noxious once it is ignited.

incineration is a cute idea, but only worth the trouble when the cost of transporting the trash to landfills becomes prohibitively expensive because they are too far away.


(which is why it's semi-popular in the tri-state area of CT, NY, and NJ – landfills are really far away in the middle of the country. most states don't have these problems and don't bother with incineration).


lensovet, I'm not talking about open burning of trash. I'm talking about highly clean and efficient waste-to-energy (WTE) plants, which emit even less pollution of all kinds than even a garbage transfer station handling the same amount of trash.

Yes, that's right, loading trash from a truck into another form of transportation emits more hydrocarbons, aromatics, heavy metals, etc. than burning it -- because at a modern WTE facility, trucks enter through an air curtain and use that air for combustion. Indeed, Vienna, Amsterdam, Brecia, and closer to home (for us in the U.S.), Hartford CT, have WTE plants RIGHT IN THE CITY!

I highly recommend particularly the "Global WTE" section, it could be very enlightening.

Of course, none of this has answered my question about how methane capture at landfills alters the balance: is WTE still less GHG-intensive than landfilling and capturing off-gases? How about relative to coal, natural gas, solid oxide fuel cells, etc. for energy production?

[q->t to email]

Stan Peterson

Every little bit justifies a job and a reason for existence for a governmental organization whose time is drawing to a close. CARB, despite its numerous excesses, has almost completed its job of cleaning the air of the accident of geography of the LA basin. Even the air quality in the LA basin is getting close to being corrected. It's quality is better than it has been since the 1930's, with most of the really noxious stuff long gone.

Facing that problem of having completed its mission, it's time to find a new reason not to be merely thanked and closed down; its budget spent on solving another problem. The only human institution that approaches immortality is a government agency, even if long past its need.

All of these actions while useful perhaps, contribute not a whit to "combating global warming". The US has already reduced its industrial generation of CO2 below 1990 targets, as if that meant anything.

Residential and commercial and transportation have more people and more businesses and hence more cars and trucks, so CO2 output is still up; but nowhere near as much as "Green" Europe or the undeveloped world.

If you really wanted to reduce CO2, you would reduce building HVAC choices to nothing but electrical sources which can be CO2 free. This while we await a suitable substitution for the Transport industry; that is coming, but not quite here yet.

If California reduced its CO2 output to zero, it would effect the atmospheric amount of CO2 that contributes to "global warming" significantly not at all. It would not change it in any way to five decimal places.

The big benefit by their measure is merely producing lower carbon fuels, which means reconfiguring "California gas" to have more "bio-fuels" content. That is the phony way of saying that a molecule of CO2 is different somehow, if it came from a recently dead plant as opposed to an old dead plant. The same indistinguishable number of CO2 molecules, some of which can be said to be accounted for as "green" and environmentally beneficial.

Sophistry and blather and drawing distinctions without a difference, that appeals to only the religiously convinced and no one else.

Bill Milosch

I am glad California has got it all together and I am glad I saw that Social Venture Network is holding a contest to award socially responsible business leaders and help them further their endeavors! You can get all the rules and background here:



Social Venture Network. Social Venture Network. Social Venture Network! I get it already. I will check out the contest.

Frank Ferrano

Yeah, you should do it, come on do it. The Social Venture Network is holding a contest to award socially responsible business leaders and help them further their endeavors! You can get all the rules and background here:

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