Saturday, March 13, 2010

California's ARB Backs Down on Auto Emissions

Although one would not know it by reading the press release, California has backed down from its 42 miles-per-gallon car standard that is part of AB 32, the greenhouse gas initiative in California. The state has reduced its standard to harmonize (agree with) the federal standard of approximately 35 miles per gallon by 2016.

This creates a problem for the Air Resources Board, and for some others within California.

The problem is that ARB is mandated by AB 32 to impose regulations on sectors of the economy to achieve a hard limit on CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions. By relaxing the automotive standards (known as Pavley standards), some other areas must be increased to achieve the overall goal.

The Pavley standard was to reduce CO2 by 27.7 million metric tonnes per year by 2020, at the 42 mpg level. By reducing the standard to 35, the reduction is now about one-sixth smaller, or roughly 4.6 MMTCO2 per year. Some other sector of the state's struggling economy must take the hit, and reduce emissions so that cars can run at 35 miles per gallon.

I propose that the state offices, especially those in Sacramento, shut down their heating and air conditioning systems entirely. This would likely save the required amount of energy, reduce demands on the electric power supply, and set an example for all of us living in the state.

It would also increase the use of personal deodorants, dry cleaning for sweaty clothes, and probably the sale of room-sized fans. In short, revert to the life of the 1940's before air conditioning was wide-spread.

Here's the challenge, ARB. Take the lead. Show us all how it is done. Cut the power to the air conditioning, and to the heating, in all the state offices, including yours. After all, 4.6 million tonnes per year is not much.

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California

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