Capitol Alert

AM Alert: California weighs plan for reducing short-lived climate pollutants

Because of cow flatulence and manure pits, California dairies are a major contributor to methane emissions.
Because of cow flatulence and manure pits, California dairies are a major contributor to methane emissions. The Sacramento Bee file

Among the sweeping climate legislation that California lawmakers passed at the end of last session was Senate Bill 1383, mandating a major cut in the state’s emissions of “short-lived climate pollutants” by 2030.

These greenhouse gases, such as black carbon, methane and hydrofluorocarbons, have a shorter atmospheric life than carbon dioxide, but a more intense effect on climate change, air quality and health. Over the past two years, the California Air Resources Board has been researching strategies for reducing the pollutants.

SB 1383 requires that, by 2018, the ARB adopt a plan to reduce black carbon, a byproduct of diesel engines and wildfires, by 50 percent; methane, which comes largely from organic waste in landfills and dairies, by 40 percent; and hydrofluorocarbons, synthetic gases used in refrigeration, insulation and aerosols, by 40 percent.

The dairy industry organized a late blitz against the bill, complete with ads about cow flatulence, but SB 1383 squeezed through the Legislature and was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The air board recently completed its revised strategy and is hosting public workshops on it throughout the state this week. After meeting in Fresno today and Diamond Bar on Thursday, a final workshop is set for the Cal/EPA building on I Street, Friday at 10 a.m.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: Some California dairies have been getting multimillion-dollar methane digesters in anticipation of the new ARB regulations. How do they work?

LOOKING AHEAD: Haven’t gotten your fill of election postmortems yet? There’s another, 4:30 p.m. at the Elks Tower on 11th Street, featuring Republican strategist Steve Schmidt and Democratic strategist Bill Burton. The event promises post-2016 insights on political, policy and media battles to come.

BY THE NUMBERS: After a few soft months, California tax revenues bounced back in November. The office of Controller Betty Yee announced Friday that California raked in $7.98 billion last month, 7.5 percent above projections in the 2016-17 budget, pushing the state ahead of estimates for the fiscal year-to-date by 0.5 percent. The surge was largely driven by personal income tax receipts of $4.55 billion, which outpaced budget projections by 14 percent. Sales tax receipts of $3.1 billion missed expectations by 2.3 percent.

DECK THE HALLS: Christmas is less than two weeks away. If you’re looking to get into the spirit, the Capitol holiday music program continues at 11 a.m. in the rotunda with the CalSTRS Christmas Choir, followed by the Salvation Army Brass Quintet at noon. For a less seasonal, though surely no less spirited, performance, head out to the west steps at 10:30 a.m., where an unidentified group has pulled a permit to “read a rewritten Declaration of Independence and call for a renewal of democracy in this moment of transition” in “the spirit of the musical ‘Hamilton.’”

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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