California is Net-Zero Now


California’s Waste Sector Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas Report

Sacramento California, May 17, 2021 –

The ‘California’s Waste Sector Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas Report’ demonstrates that the solid waste, recycling, and composting industry in California was 3.7 times “Net-Zero” in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2018. The Report findings support the continued and expanded implementation of waste recycling programs and is an important document for policymakers to consider during climate change policy development. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is a leading agency and world leader dedicated to protecting public health and natural resources while effectively reducing air pollution and mitigating the impacts of climate change. CARB will be meeting on May 20, 2021, as they gear up for their third update to the Assembly Bill 32 Scoping Plan with the statewide goal to be carbon neutral by 2045. Tens of billions of dollars in new investments will be required over the next two decades to meet the “Net-Zero” goal. “By recognizing and embracing industries that are today performing about four times better than the 2045 goal, CARB will accelerate the near-term community benefits,” according to Evan Edgar, the Report’s author.

The Scoping Plan is expected to  be adopted by CARB before November 2022. The Plan is expected to focus on collecting and evaluating data that will translate into improved metrics to show the socioeconomic benefits of GHG reductions and also to provide transparency to the Legislature and other stakeholders. Improving the State’s ability to identify the cost-effectiveness of each of its incentive programs is among the goals of the Scoping Plan.

Evan Edgar, on behalf of the California Compost Coalition, will be presenting, ‘California’s Waste Sector Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas Report’ at the CARB meeting, where it will demonstrate that the solid waste, recycling, and composting industry was 3.7 times Net-Zero in GHG emissions in 2018. Mr. Edgar, a Registered Civil Engineer in California, has over 30 years of experience in the solid waste industry and has heavily contributed to prior Scoping Plans. To achieve Net-Zero, the direct GHG emissions of the Waste Sector from landfills, facilities, fuel and energy use would have to be fully offset by avoided GHG emissions by shifting from landfilling to alternative non-disposal pathways such as recycling, composting, and bioenergy by using a life-cycle analysis.

“By 2030, the Waste Sector can be 9.9 times Net-Zero in GHG emissions, with continued recycling and composting, to reach a 75% statewide recycling rate, and by shifting to low carbon fuels. The Scoping Plan will focus on renewable natural gas production and use and the sequestering of carbon on the natural and working lands of California with compost use,” according to Evan Edgar, an engineer for the California Compost Coalition. He continues that “Carbon farming is the future of California to create healthy soils while decreasing water use.”

CARB has new leadership, where the rush to the electrification of the transportation sector with huge infrastructure costs and an unreliable power grid will be under review as part of the Scoping Plan process and with the need to demonstrate cost-effective programs. The Waste Sector is producing carbon negative fuel now from food waste and green waste and producing renewable natural gas for use in their fleets with near-zero NOx engines. At the meeting, Edgar will emphasize that, ‘This is Back to the Future Now – instead of placing the banana peels in the DeLorean, pizza boxes and food wastes are fueling garbage trucks.”

CARB should not let 2045 climate change policy goals get in the way of deep greenhouse gas reductions being deployed today, and it appears that CARB may continue to bank on fleet electrification for decades, rather than choosing carbon negative solutions available now. This will result in massive costs, ranging in the tens of billions of dollars. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report stressed that less than decade is all that remains to stop irreversible damage from climate change. The Waste Sector is poised to continue to invest in carbon negative fuel and compost use and will urge CARB to provide additional incentives and less regulatory barriers for the Waste Sector to continue to be Net-Zero GHG with zero waste, making certified organic compost.

“When it comes to Environmental Justice issues, for the hauling, recycling, composting and bioenergy portions of the Waste Sector that I represent”, Edgar  says, “We are getting off landfills, off diesel fuel, off NOx air emissions, off pesticides, and off fertilizers, while developing edible food recovery programs in priority population communities”. This policy proposal promotes environmental  justice for all.

Click here for the Full Report!

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