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AQMD Board Adopts Ambitious Program to Help Tackle Global Warming

The Southland’s air pollution agency (Southern California Air Quality Management District) today announced the adoption of the SoCal Climate Solutions Exchange – a voluntary program to help combat global warming by producing high-quality greenhouse gas emission reductions.

Dec. 5, 2008

The Southland’s air pollution agency today announced the adoption of the SoCal Climate Solutions Exchange – a voluntary program to help combat global warming by producing high-quality greenhouse gas emission reductions.

The adopted Rules 2700 – General, and Rule 2701 – SoCal Climate Solutions Exchange, set up the administrative structure for the initiative by providing a mechanism to recognize and quantify reductions. Rule 2701 enables private parties to generate certified greenhouse gas emission reductions. Proposed Rule 2702 – Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program, is expected to come before the Board for approval early next year. Proposed Rule 2702 would establish an air quality investment program where the AQMD could collect funds from parties that need certified emission reductions, pool those funds and use them to reduce greenhouse gases.

“This new initiative will give businesses an opportunity to invest in high-quality carbon reductions,” said William A. Burke, Ed.D., Governing Board Chairman of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD). “This program could also help jumpstart the kind of projects the state is looking for in terms of greenhouse gas reductions.”

These rules will be an option for companies to mitigate emissions from new projects under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Companies or individuals also could use these reductions to voluntarily offset their “carbon footprint.”

The agency will certify carbon emission reductions and register and track any exchanges. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are the focus but the program will likely result in simultaneous reductions of smog-forming pollutants.

The program is also expected to boost the local economy by creating more green jobs, added Chairman Burke who first proposed the initiative in January.
Reductions must meet strict criteria and businesses will be required to follow specific protocols and represent emission reductions that are in addition to any regulatory requirements. Those wishing to participate will be required to submit a plan registration with specific information on the project.

Initial protocols currently approved for the program include forest management and urban tree planting. Other protocols are under development. Additional protocols will have CARB concurrence and be added through future rule amendments.

Once certified greenhouse gas emission reductions are issued, they will be listed on the AQMD’s website. The website will also include the type of reduction and location.

Fossil-fuel burning and other emissions including methane are now widely recognized by the scientific community as culprits behind a rapid rise in carbon dioxide levels in the Earth’s atmosphere.

AQMD’s program is being closely coordinated with the state’s implementation of AB32, California’s global warming emissions reduction program, which is expected to be adopted this month.

In other action today, the AQMD Board:

• Adopted Rule 1147 – NOx Reductions from Miscellaneous Sources – to reduce nitrogen
oxide emissions from a variety of combustion sources, including ovens, dryers, and
furnaces by requiring facilities to upgrade or replace equipment at the end of its useful
life with the cleanest low-NOx technology available. Rule 1147 requires equipment to
meet more stringent NOx emission limits based on equipment age and type. Units older
than 25 years must meet the emission limit first, followed by units older than 15 years
over the next 10 years. The rule is expected to reduce 3.8 tons per day of NOx emissions
by 2023.

AQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

AQMD Headquarters
21865 Copley Drive
Diamond Bar, CA 91765
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