Some Surprises on California’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting List

Six hundred five businesses, cities,military bases and other California emitters of greenhouse gases report the level of those emissions to the state Air Resources Board.

The air board’s spreadsheet of those reporting and  a November 18 press release by the board discuss the process. The reporting has been required since 2007. It’s part of the state’s implementation of AB 32, the 2006 measure aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. 

While refineries, cement makers and utilities are all on the list – and tend to have the highest levels of emissions – there some surprises.

Del Monte’s Hanford fruit and vegetable canning plant is on the list.  So is Ernest and Julio Gallo’s Fresno winery and the Lawrence Livermore labs. Frito Law and Foster Farms also report their emissions. As does Anheuser Busch for both its Fairfield and Los Angeles breweries. 

AlStyle Apparel in Anaheim reports as does Avenal State Prison and Amgen, the biotech company. Saputo Cheese in Southgate, Rio Bravo Tomato Company in Buttonwillow and San Diego State also are on the list.  So are UC San Francisco, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA and, oddly, a San Diego maker of solar turbines.

The list is part of the state’s efforts involving AB 32, the landmark legislation that seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

As implementation of AB 32 ratchets up starting in 2012, the occupants of the list will be buying and selling carbon credits in a yet-to-be-created program, which Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and others refer to as “cap-and-trade.”

Conceptually, the state – most likely through the air board – will determine the number of allowances these and other creators of greenhouse gases will receive. That’s the “cap.”

Each allowance grants the holder the ability to emit a certain amount of greenhouse gases, usually measured in metric tons.

Then, most likely the air board will divvy up the allowances either by simply giving them to the entities on the list or auctioning them off or a combination of both.

The “trade” part of the name then comes into play. A greenhouse gas emitter determines the costs to lower its emissions to AB 32’s levels. The more expensive to comply, the more likely the market price of allowances will be lower and purchasing more allowances the cheaper alternative. 

If hitting AB 32’s targets is less expensive, then the market price will be higher and that entity will likely sell some of its allowances. Reducing its number of allowances, by necessity, causes that entity to lower its emissions accordingly.

The air board’s “scoping plan’’ – a roadmap to AB 32 implementation – contemplates this cap-and-trade program will be conducted in the participants of the Western Climate Initiative – seven states, including California, and four Canadian provinces.

That means emitters of greenhouse gases in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Montana and the provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec can all buy and sell allowances amongst themselves.

The Western Climate Initiative’s target reduction for its members is less stringent than AB 32. The initiative seeks reductions by 2020 of 15 percent below emissions in 2005.



Filed under: State Agencies


  1. Your surprise that Solar Turbines is on a list of carbon producers is understandable as the name is somewhat misleading. They actually produce gas turbine engines that run on diesel and/or natural gas. Many companies and universities use these turbine engines in a cogeneration configuration to produce both heat and electrical power. This explains some of the other entries on your list, such as San Diego State and Anheuser Busch.

    Interestingly this technology is still “greener” than running a plant or university directly from the electrical grid. Because these places are recovering the heat from the turbine exhaust and using that for their processes instead of running coal, oil, or electrical heaters they are reducing their carbon footprint comparatively speaking.

    Hope this clears some of this up for you!

    Comment by Chris — 12.07.2009 @ 6:59 pm

  2. I wonder whether Avenal State Prison is a net buyer or seller of greenhouse gas credits. Could be the answer to our prison funding problem or maybe the cause.

    Comment by Let it Bleed — 12.08.2009 @ 8:20 am

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