Emission Benchmarks for Industrial Processes

California Air Resources Board (CARB) has been working hard to achieve California’s goal of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020. This is equivalent to a 30% reduction in projected emissions--a lofty goal to accomplish within the next 7 years. Ultimately, the intent is to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050. If you factor in situations such as population growth and thus increased demand, it becomes a very ambitious goal. 

Can we make it? 

It has become apparent to me that when the cost of compliance becomes more cost effective than the cost of pollution, pollution be able to be controlled.

The University of California, Berkeley and Northwestern University are working with the CARB to establish output-based benchmarks for industrial processes. Such benchmarks will be used for the distribution of free emission allowances facilities covered by the California Cap-and-Trade Program, which is one of the newest policy instruments the state has adopted to reduce emissions cost-effectively. 

One of the main results of the project will be output-based benchmarks for selected sectors, for which benchmarks do not currently exist (mainly food processing, important for the Central Valley). Another major part of the project focuses on the benchmarking approach for refineries in the period after 2015.