Last September, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1013, also known as the California Cooling Act, which backstops federal rollbacks of prohibitions on high GWP HFCs. The California Cooling Act adopts U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA's) Significant New Alternative Policy (SNAP) Rules 20 and 21 by reference, with the exception of motor vehicle air conditioning. The prohibitions took effect in California when the bill became law on January 1, 2019.

Under this new law, manufacturers cannot sell equipment or products that use prohibited HFCs that are manufactured after their respective prohibition dates. The compliance dates vary by end-use and for new versus retrofit equipment. A summary of the prohibitions can be found here.

In addition to prohibiting specific high-GWP HFCs, the California Cooling Act establishes an incentive program for early adoption of low-GWP technology in refrigeration systems. This incentive program is critical, according to the California Air Resources Board (CARB), 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 will reduce emissions, in terms of carbon dioxide equivalents, over the lifetime the equipment is in operation, according to CARB. 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.

California is required to reduce HFC emissions 40 percent below 2013 levels by 2030 under Senate Bill 1383. In a move to prevent the industry from reverting to high-GWP HFCs in sectors that had already transitioned to lower-GWP alternatives, 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.

Publication date: 12/2/2018

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