In late February, the California Air Resources Board approved a plan to phase out the open burning of agricultural waste in the San Joaquin Valley, California’s largest agricultural region. Open burning, which has increased nearly 500% in the past several years, is a major source of air and climate pollution in the Valley. In fact, open burning of agricultural and forest waste is one of the largest sources of black carbon emissions – a powerful Short-Lived Climate Pollutant that is 3200 times more damaging to the climate than carbon dioxide and is also very harmful to public health, crops, forests, and more.
The Air Board’s plan calls specifically for:
- A Clean Biomass/Bioenergy Collaborative across state agencies
- Increased funding for bioenergy and other alternatives to open burning
- Increased production of liquid and gaseous fuels from agricultural waste