California approves Cooling Act to limit HFC emissions originally proposed by EPA SNAP

The California legislature has approved Senate Bill 1013. The Bill, otherwise known as the California Cooling Act (CCA), reinstates the HFC reduction targets from the previously vacated U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Significant New Alternatives Policy (EPA SNAP) requiring businesses to transition to alternative refrigerants. The Act reinstates all end-use sectors from SNAP Rules 20 and 21.

Previously this year, California’s Air Resources Board (CARB), which has authority to regulate hydrofluorocarbon (HFCs) and greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in the state, adopted the vacated EPA SNAP requirement for most end-use sectors listed in SNAP Rules 20 and 21. At the time, CARB did not address large AC chillers, aerosol propellants, most types of foam, residential refrigerator-freezers and motor vehicle air-conditioning. With the passage of the CCA, CARB will likely look to begin new rulemaking to cover these remaining end-use sectors from Rules 20 and 21 so its rules are aligned with the CCA.

The CCA also includes provisions directing CARB to create an incentive program to encourage rapid adoption of CCA-driven replacement technologies in the supermarket and industrial sectors.

The CCA was supported by more than 15 major consumer refrigeration manufacturers including Bosch, GE, LG, Electrolux and Whirlpool, as well as public health and environmental groups. It is expected to reduce HFC emissions in California by up to 17 million tonnes annually by 2030. Overall, California has committed to reduce HFC emissions statewide by 40 percent by 2030, from its 1990 baseline.

Governor Brown has until Sept. 30 to veto the bill, which he is not expected to do.