AB 32 (2006)
mandates state regulators to cut Green House Gasses (GHG) to 1990
levels by 2020 – an estimated 15% (or more) reduction from current CO2
output. There is mechanism in AB 32 for a governor to suspend statutory
provisions for “emergency circumstances” but our governor has refused
to invoke it to mitigate the recession’s impacts.
Under AB 32, Schwarzenegger signed an Executive Order (EO) in 2007 requiring oil companies to reduce the carbon content in fuel 10%
by 2020. This will most likely result in higher fuel costs for all
transportation vehicles maybe sooner than
Prop 23 would
temporarily suspend AB 32 including the fuel carbon content EO until
unemployment drops in California to 5.5% for four consecutive quarters.
CARB’s Heavy Duty Truck and Bus Dec 2008 Regulation
(HDT&BR) is a separate regulation, in a long line of previous HD
fleet regulations, driven primarily by the Federal Clean Air Act
mandates to reduce NOx and “diesel” PM emissions - estimated to
represent 30% & 40% respectively of these type of emissions. So, on
the surface AB 32 and the HDT&BR are separate regulations on
examination both regulations are closely linked by the promoters of AB
32. First, there is a GHG or CO2 component to HD vehicles. According to
environmentalists, in California “heavy duty trucks are responsible for one-fifth of the global warming pollution from the transportation sector”. They allege that the transportation sector is “the largest source of global warming pollution” meaning non-criteria CO2 emissions.
CBA discovered when we examined CARB’s estimates for statewide emissions by category that all HD vehicle CO2 emissions are included in CARB’s inventory database. CARB concludes however, that under the HDT&BR from 2014 to 2020. “overall CO2 reduction for each category (bus & other categories) is negligible” partly due to performance of PM retrofit devices. Based
on a mountain of environmental doomsday scenarios, how will the
transportation sector contribute to CO2 reduction? Put another way, can
our industry escape the impacts of AB32?
AB 32’s “Climate Change Scoping Plan” involving over 69 separate laws and regulations has already affected some long haul tractors per the new Heavy Duty (Tractor-Trailer) Greenhouse Gas Regulation (CO2 reduction from HD vehicles) effective Jan 1, 2010.
is supposed to improve tractor and trailer aerodynamic designs as a way
to reduce fuel use. If CARB is scoring its HDT&BR CO2 impact as
“negligible”, AB 32 may have other surprises down the road from bus
design to diesel engine fuel efficiency to the cost of fuel itself.
All of this
activity will be driven on a daily basis by the professional
environmental community demanding that state regulators take action and
expand AB32’s reach. We experienced this in discussions with CARB
staff. They are naturally susceptible to outside pressures when
developing this type of regulation.
to Prop 23 is understandable given that AB 32 represents “billions of
dollars” of wealth transfers from some private sector companies to
entities chosen and subsidized by state regulators. Our customer’s
ability to pay for these hidden costs are of no concern to those trying
to expand AB 32’s reach into our sector.
For example, a
group called the International Council On Clean Transportation (ICCT)
has linked AB 32’s Scoping Plan” to future actions and new regulations
for the transportation industry. At minimum AB 32’s “Cap & Trade”
program will target “fuel production and refining”. That is a cost
increase that falls to the bottom line of every member.
Passage of Prop
23 will send a strong signal to the next Governor, state and federal
regulators that the economic effects of excessive regulations are
unacceptable if we want to encourage job creation and cost-effective
transportation choices – the backbone of our economy.