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EIA Applauds Passage of California Cooling Act

California’s legislature voted today to pass The California Cooling Act (SB 1013), which will make a significant contribution to reducing super pollutant hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The bill is expected to reduce HFC emissions by up to 17 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent annually by 2030.

“With the passage of the Cooling Act, California has established a comprehensive backstop for federal regulations on HFCs that were recently vacated,” said Avipsa Mahapatra, EIA’s Climate Campaign Lead. “This landmark legislation demonstrates how states can champion tangible climate action by moving away from super-pollutant HFCs. In the United States, actions like this would enhance market uptake of climate-friendly technology by increasing economies of scale. Internationally, it will help the U.S. stay on track to meet its global climate commitments, including under the Montreal Protocol’s Kigali Amendment to phase-down HFCs globally.”

The bill also directs the Air Resources Board to establish an innovative incentive program to increase adoption of replacement technologies in the cooling sector.

“We applaud Senator Lara and the California legislature for their leadership in adopting this important legislation, particularly the innovative approach it takes to incentivizing new technology uptake by end users such as supermarkets,” said Christina Starr, EIA Climate Policy Analyst. “It is a promising model for other states considering climate action on HFCs as part of their commitment to raising the bar on non-federal climate action.”

SB 1013 was introduced by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) who has also championed other pieces of legislation on HFCs, including SB 1383 which enacted the state’s commitment to reduce HFC emissions by 40% by 2030.

With SB 1013 passed into law, the state must now allocate funding to the Air Resources Board to establish the incentive program and initiate a stakeholder process to shape its scope and guidelines. If implemented effectively, the incentive program can help end users and manufacturers in the U.S. overcome the challenge that many of the replacement technologies still cost more than those using HFCs, thereby limiting their widespread adoption in the U.S.

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HFCs used in cooling were a hot topic at the Global Climate Action Summit last week in San Francisco. With momentum building for subnational actors like cities, states, and businesses to drive action forward on climate, we have the opportunity to tackle the issue of how we keep cool without warming the planet - by phasing down superpollutant hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and identifying new approaches to maximize energy efficiency as global demand for cooling increases.

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