The California Cooling Act Backstops Federal Rollbacks

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December 4, 2018

The California Cooling Act

The California Cooling Act backstops federal rollbacks of prohibitions on high‑global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons

In September 2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Cooling Act, Senate Bill 1013. The California Cooling Act, authored by Senator Ricardo Lara, backstops federal rollbacks of critical prohibitions on high‑global warming potential (GWP) hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The California Cooling Act adopts U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (U.S. EPA) Significant New Alternative Policy (SNAP) Rules 20 and 21 by reference, with the exception of motor vehicle air-conditioning. The prohibitions take effect in California when the bill becomes law on January 1, 2019. Under this new law, manufacturers cannot sell equipment or products which use prohibited HFCs that are manufactured after their respective prohibition dates. The compliance dates vary by end-use and for new versus retrofit equipment. For a complete listing of prohibitions refer to Senate Bill 1013 which adopts Appendix U and Appendix V of Subpart G of 40 C.F.R. Part 82. As per Senate Bill 1013, compliance dates for household appliances have been modified. A summary of the prohibitions can be found on our HFC Prohibitions Fact Sheet.

In addition to prohibiting specific high-GWP HFCs, the California Cooling Act also establishes an incentive program for early adoption of low-GWP technology in refrigeration systems. This incentive program is critical because the refrigeration systems installed in the next few years contribute emissions over the next 20 years or more in which they are in operation. Incentivizing a faster transitioning to lower-GWP systems reduces emissions, in terms of carbon dioxide equivalents, over the lifetime the equipment is in operation. In order for CARB to implement the program, the Legislature must first allocate funding. Once funding has been allocated, CARB can proceed with implementing the incentive program.

New CARB Regulation

In a move to prevent industry from reverting to high-GWP HFCs in sectors which had already transitioned to lower-GWP alternatives, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved a new regulation in March 2018. While the prohibition dates for these sectors are also included in the California Cooling Act, this regulation has additional requirements for recordkeeping and disclosure. The final regulation will become effective upon approval by the Office of Administrative Law. For the most current information on this regulation, including the regulatory text, you can visit the rulemaking webpage.

Additional Information

California is required to reduce HFC emissions 40 percent below 2013 levels by 2030 under Senate Bill 1383, a bill authored by Senator Ricardo Lara. HFCs are synthetic gases that are used in a variety of applications, but mainly to replace ozone-depleting substances used in foam, aerosol products, refrigeration and air-conditioning. HFCs have a powerful impact on climate as they trap heat in the atmosphere at a rate thousands of times that of carbon dioxide.

More Information