Photo courtesy of the office of Governor Jerry Brown.
California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1383 into law in Long Beach yesterday, a bill introduced by State Senator Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, which establishes the strongest restrictions on super pollutants than any other legislation in the country.
Specifically, the law restricts black carbon, fluorinated gases and methane—all super pollutants, which could help cut the projected rate of global warming by half in 2050.
“Cutting black carbon and other super pollutants is the critical next step in our program to combat climate change,” said Gov. Brown the signing ceremony in Long Beach yesterday. “This bill curbs these dangerous pollutants and thereby protects public health and slows climate change.”
The legislation was introduced by Lara last year to reduce the emission of super pollutants (also known as Short-Lived Climate Pollutants) and promoting renewable gas, by curbing production of black carbon and methane and hydrofluorocarbon by 50 and 40 percent by 2030, respectively.
“The Super Pollutants addressed in this bill – black carbon, methane, and HFC gases – are powerful climate forcers that have a profound effect on climate change and global warming,” said Senator Lara in a statement. “They also have detrimental effects on public health. This bill represents a unique opportunity to balance our global vision for the future with a much more local and immediate perspective.”
According to a release issued by Lara’s office last year, SLCP are pollutants that remain in the atmosphere for a shorter amount of time, compared to longer-lived pollutants like carbon dioxide (CO2). The office stated that the impact of such pollutants can be anywhere from 10 times to 1,000 times greater than longer-lived pollutants, and that reducing such pollutants would result in an immediate impact to the environment—particularly the Long Beach area, with the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports.
In fact, according to the 2015 State of the Air report by the American Lung Association, the LA-Long Beach Metro Area was worst in the nation for ozone pollution, specifically ranking fifth in the nation for short-term particle pollution.
Lara called the ambitious standards “attainable” in a press conference last year, as well as an "opportunity to invest in infrastructure," stating that it underscored the action necessary to curb harmful pollutants in the air globally. Lara said that, in a city where one in every 11 children has asthma, more work must be done to reduce potent pollutants.
“Reducing short-lived pollutants is the right thing to do for public health and for environmental justice,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon in a statement on Monday. “By taking on harmful super pollutants like black carbon, methane, and hydrofluorocarbons, SB 1383 is another critical tool in our efforts to prevent and mitigate the dangerous effects of climate change. With this bill, California is once again leading the way for the nation and the world.”