State agencies released an updated strategy to reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants in November 2016. The updated draft is focused on strategies to reduce methane emissions and human-caused black carbon emissions. Although SB 605 (Lara, 2014) requires a comprehensive strategy to address all major sources of SLCP’s, the current draft omitted any strategy to reduce black carbon from wildfire, which is the single largest source of SLCP’s. BAC’s Comments on the updated draft urge the state to restore sections on black carbon from wildfire, which had been included in earlier drafts, as required by SB 605. The Comments also urge the state to allocate a higher share of Cap & Trade revenues to SLCP reduction and to identify important research needs for SLCP reduction.
See the Opinion Piece in Biomass Monitor on “Forest Biomass Utilization Combatting Catastrophic Wildfires,” written by Julia Levin of BAC and Tad Mason of TSS Consultants. The piece explains that catastrophic wildfires are not natural or good for California forests, emit huge quantities of black carbon and other pollutants and threaten California water supplies. Forest fuel treatment and use of that biomass to produce energy can help restore healthy, more resilient forests and cut pollution from wildfires and fossil fuel power generation.
The California Department of Forests and Fire (CalFire) now estimates that there are more than 66 million dead trees in the Southern Sierras alone, with many additional dead trees throughout California. According to CalFire, the number of dead trees has increased from 3.3 million in 2014 to 29 million in 2015 and now more than 66 million in just six counties. The huge increase in tree mortality is due to a combination of drought, climate change and bark beetles. The Governor’s Emergency Proclamation on Tree Mortality calls for removal of dead and dying trees in High Hazard Zones and conversion to bioenergy and other beneficial uses. To learn more, see CalFire’s news release.