California to Implement Wood Smoke Reduction Program

The program is voluntary, providing incentives to replace older, uncertified wood stoves for cleaner replacements or alternatives. In addition to decreasing air pollution, it reduces emissions of a "super climate pollutant," black carbon.

October 21, 2017, 11:00 AM PDT

By Irvin Dawid

Wood Fire Smoke

pp1 / Shutterstock

The new program is the result of legislation by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Oct. 11. Reducing wood smoke is essentially an environmental two-fer, simultaneously decreasing air pollution and mitigating climate change.

"The smoke from wood burning is made up of a complex mixture of gases and fine particles (also called particle pollution, particulate matter, or PM)," according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Short-term exposures to particles (hours or days) can aggravate lung disease, causing asthma attacks and acute bronchitis, and may also increase susceptibility to respiratory infections. Long-term exposures (months or years) have been associated with problems such as reduced lung function and the development of chronic bronchitis—and even premature death.

"Changing out one dirty, inefficient wood stove is equivalent to taking five old diesel buses off the road, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency," state's Sen. Lara's press release.

Black carbon = super pollutant

Wood smoke from home heaters will be the biggest source of human-caused black carbon by 2030, according to the California Air Resources Board," notes the SB 563 press release.

According to the Sept. 8 analysis, "Black carbon has a global warming potential 3200 times that of CO2 on a 20-year time scale." A Geophysical Research study in 2013 determined that it was the second most important heat-trapping pollutant after carbon dioxide.

SB 563 helps meet one of the goals set in Senator Lara's Super Pollutant Reduction Act of 2016. "Under Senate Bill 1383, California set targets to reduce methane, tropospheric ozone, hydrofluorocarbons and black carbon emissions, giving the state Air Resources Board until Jan. 1, 2018, to determine how those goals will be met," write Melody Gutierrez and Kurtis Alexander for the San Francisco Chronicle on September 20, 2016.

The measure requires a 50 percent reduction by 2030 in human-caused black carbon emissions compared with 2013 levels. Black carbon emerges primarily from wildfires, but also emissions from wood-burning fireplaces and diesel-fueled engines.

Funding for the wood stove replacements will come from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, i.e., revenues from cap-and-trade. CARB would direct funds to the regional air quality management districts and air pollution control districts, many of which already have operate replacement programs. According to the Sept. 8 legislative analysis of the bill, "these programs are typically oversubscribed and demand exceeds available funds."

Hat tip: David E. Garcia, Calif. State Senate Environmental Quality Committee consultant.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 in California State Senate

Indian Trail, North Carolina

Four ‘Low-Hanging Fruit’ Zoning Reforms

An excerpt from the latest book on zoning argues for four approaches to reform that can immediately improve land use regulation in the United States.

June 26, 2022 - M. Nolan Gray

Car Traffic

San Francisco Just Ended Single-Family Zoning

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to Tuesday to eliminate single-family zoning, but pro-development advocates say additional changes are needed to unleash a wave of construction.

June 29, 2022 - San Francisco Chronicle

A Gold Line AnsaldoBreda P2550 train enters Mission Station in South Pasadena on February 25, 2012.

Land Banking to Prevent Transit-Oriented Displacement in Los Angeles

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) will implement a new land banking program to mitigate gentrification and displacement around future transit lines.

June 28, 2022 - Los Angeles Daily News

Colorado Homes

Something Old, Something New: Biden’s Housing Plan

President Biden’s Housing Supply Action Plan is a catchall of existing proposals, tiny tweaks, and things Congress would have to fund—plus a few genuinely interesting administrative moves. Here’s the rundown.

57 seconds ago - Shelterforce Magazine

Rendering of inflatable floating water park in Long Beach, California.

Long Beach Opens New Water Playground

The coastal city just celebrated the grand opening of its newest beach attraction, an inflatable aquatic playground called the “Wibit.”

1 hour ago - Signal Tribune

View south along Interstate 45 (North Freeway) from the ramp between westbound Interstate 10 and southbound Interstate 45 in Houston, Harris County, Texas

Houston Apartments To Be Demolished for Freeway Widening

Despite a federal hold on the controversial freeway widening project, the Texas Department of Transportation is pushing ahead with the demolition of an apartment complex in downtown Houston.

2 hours ago - Houston Chronicle

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

International Real Estate Strategies and Deal Negotiation

Harvard Graduate School of Design Executive Education

Affordable Housing: Principles for Changing Domestic and Global Markets

Harvard Graduate School of Design Executive Education

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.