Yesterday, State Senator Ricardo Lara announced a bill to spearhead Short-Lived Climate Pollutant (SLCP) reduction, to be formally introduced in 2016, from his perch at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris.

Lara visited COP21 as part of the California delegation, where he announced his set targets to achieve a 50 percent reduction in black carbon emissions, 40 percent reduction in methane and a 40 percent reduction in f-gases in California by 2030. The bill has been two years in the making, as it was spearheaded by 2013’s Senate Bill 605, which directed the Air Resources Board to create a strategy to combat Short-Lived Climate Pollutants.

“Short-Lived Climate Pollutants are among the most harmful emissions to both community health, local air quality and global climate change,” said Senator Lara. “These include black carbon, methane and fluorinated gases that can have an impact a hundreds of times greater than CO2, contributing about 40 percent to global radiative forcing – the effect that causes climate change.”

According to a release issued by Lara’s office, 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 on Tuesday, 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.

“The exchange of ideas at COP21 are important for a global reduction strategy, however the impact of climate change is felt most acutely at the local level,” Lara said in a statement. “My proposal will continue placing California at the vanguard of climate change policy and ensure that our most disadvantaged and vulnerable communities—which are disproportionately affected—benefit from a proactive, lasting reduction strategy in short lived climate pollutants.”

“We commend Senator Lara for proposing this important legislation that will improve health outcomes for families across the state, particularly those in underserved communities,” said Bonnie Holmes-Gen, Senior Policy Director at the American Lung Association of California.