Funding supports program established by California Cooling Act, but is needed at a larger scale, says natural refrigerants advocacy group NASRC.
In its final 2019-2020 budget bill approved yesterday, the California legislature allocated $1 million to create an incentive program for adopting climate-friendly refrigerant technologies, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) reported on its website.
The incentive funding came despite reports that it would likely not be allocated this year. With the budget passed by the legislature, it will now go to Governor Newsom’s desk for signature in the coming weeks, noted EIA.
The incentive program was established last year by the California Cooling Act (SB1013), which aims to reduce emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases such as HFCs. In addition to supporting low-GWP refrigeration alternatives to HFCS, the program would also mandate consideration of other co-benefits such as energy efficiency and opportunities for increasing recovery, reclamation, and destruction of refrigerants at end-of-life.
“We applaud California for following through on the California Cooling Act,” said Christina Starr, climate policy analyst for Washington, D.C.-based EIA, in a statement. “This is an opportunity to launch a transformative program that can accelerate adoption of the most climate-friendly cooling technologies available. It can also help increase energy efficiency, and encourage better management and disposal of HFCs. If implemented at scale, it promises to have a big impact.”
“This is yet another fine example of California’s leadership and commitment to tackling HFCs in cooling,” added Avipsa Mahapatra, climate campaign lead at EIA. “We hope other states committed to phasing down super-pollutant HFCs will see this innovative program as an example for raising the bar on sub-national climate action in the U.S.”
The North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC), which had advocated for the incentive funding, would have liked to see more money allocated to the program.
“We’re thrilled to see California step up its commitment to supporting the industry’s transition to low-GWP refrigerants,” said Danielle Wright, executive director for NASRC. “Incentives are key to accelerating adoption, but are needed at a much larger scale in order to meet the state’s aggressive greenhouse gas and HFC emissions reduction goals. This initial funding has great potential to lay the groundwork for a much larger program in the future.”
The program will be overseen by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) with incentives to be made available to users of cooling systems, which include supermarkets, other retailers, food and beverage manufacturing and distribution companies, among others.
“Incentives are key to accelerating adoption, but are needed at a much larger scale in order to meet the state’s aggressive greenhouse gas and HFC emissions reduction goals."
– Danielle Wright, NASRC