California State Senator Nancy Skinner has submitted a bill (SB 1206) that supports the adoption of natural refrigerants while lowering acceptable GWP levels for HFC gases.
Skinner, a Democrat representing Berkeley, is Chair of the California Senate Budget Committee and Vice Chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus.
In particular, SB 1206, part of a broad environmental package of bills, requires:
- New HFCs sold in California to meet a GWP of 1,400 or below by 2025 and a GWP of 750 or below after 2030
- The California Air Resources Board (CARB) to continue to update appliance standards to adopt newer, lower-impact refrigerants as they become commercially available.
- CARB to develop a proposal for transitioning the California economy away from HFCs to natural refrigerants no later than 2035.This includes a report on necessary incentives, infrastructure investments and workforce training to meet this goal.
- The state’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to develop a strategy for including low-GWP and natural refrigerants in its energy-efficiency programs.
“Californians agree the magnitude of the climate crisis demands we accelerate action now,” said Skinner in a statement. “SB 1206 will buy us precious time in our fight to protect the climate by cutting emissions of the powerful but short-lived pollutants used in refrigerators and air conditioners.”
SB 1206 builds upon previously passed legislation in California, including a bill mandating a reduction of HFC emissions by 40% below 2013 levels by 2030. Moreover, CARB has already adopted several rules restricting GWP levels in certain equipment, while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has enacted a rule phasing down the production and consumption of HFCs by 85% by 2036.
An amendment to SB 1206 requires that CARB set deadlines for the adoption of:
- Air conditioning with refrigerant GWP of less than 150
- Heat pumps and heat pump water heaters using refrigerants of less than 50 GWP
- Cryogenic transport refrigeration unit (TRU) technology with refrigerant GWP of less than 15
- Vending machines with a refrigerant GWP under 15.
- Refrigeration and air conditioning equipment with a charge of propane (R290) between 300 and 500g.
Another amendment requires CARB to develop recommendations to grow the workforce of technicians capable of handling natural alternatives with a GWP of 15 or lower and of servicing the appliances that use these refrigerants.
“SB 1206 will buy us precious time in our fight to protect the climate by cutting emissions of the powerful but short-lived pollutants used in refrigerators and air conditioners.”Nancy Skinner, California State Senator
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