SACRAMENTO, CA – November 04, 2015 – The Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) filed comments with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) regarding its draft Short-Lived Climate Pollutant (SLCP) Reduction Strategy (Strategy), which highlight its overt omission of recommended actions, goals, and targets to address black carbon emissions from wildfires.
Under Senate Bill 605 (Lara) CARB is required to inventory sources and emissions of SLCPs and to identify existing and potential new control measures to reduce these emissions. SLCP’s are climate forcers that remain in the atmosphere for a much shorter period of time than longer-lived climate pollutants, such as carbon dioxide (CO2). Their relative potency - when measured in terms of how they heat the atmosphere - can be tens, hundreds, or even thousands of times greater than that of CO2. The impacts of short-lived climate pollutants are especially strong over the short term, and reducing these emissions can make an immediate beneficial impact on climate change.
Although the draft Strategy is supposed to address the top SLCPs including black carbon, wildfire emissions are the sole exclusion from the Strategy, despite the fact that wildfires make up 66 percent of the state’s total black carbon emissions. Instead, the draft Strategy delays the discussion to the Forest Carbon Plan and Bioenergy Action Plan, neither of which will be completed before the January 01, 2016 deadline mandated in SB 605.
“California’s wildfire problem is getting worse each year, with three major wildfire events occurring in California’s rural counties in recent months,” said RCRC Chair and Sierra County Supervisor Lee Adams. “The exclusion of any discussion on recommendations to reduce black carbon emissions from wildfires is irresponsible, and short-sighted.”
As part of its comments, RCRC recommends CARB work with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and other state and federal partners to identify short term strategies, such as forest management and biomass utilization projects, to reduce wildfire risk and the resulting black carbon emissions from California’s forest lands. It is time for California to stop merely talking about reducing wildfires and to implement concrete actions.