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The Golden State will become the first to transition away from fossil-fuel heaters and furnaces to reduce emissions from consumer products. 

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) voted on Thursday to ban the sale of new gas furnaces and water heaters beginning in 2030 to reduce ground-level ozone, otherwise known as smog. By 2030, all new space and water heaters sold in California would have to meet the zero-emission standard. 

CARB said is expected that this regulation would rely heavily on heat pump technologies currently being sold to electrify new and existing homes. The vote was designed to meet the standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that limit ozone in the atmosphere to 70 parts per billion. 

"We need to take every action we can to deliver on our commitments to protect public health from the adverse impacts of air pollution, and this strategy identifies how we can do just that," CARB Chair Liane Randolph said. "While this strategy will clean the air for all Californians, it will also lead to reduced emissions in the many low-income and disadvantaged communities that experience greater levels of persistent air pollution.”

The 2022 State Implementation Plan (SIP) Strategy identifies the state’s control strategy for meeting the federal 70 parts per billion, 8-hour ozone standard over the next 15 years. The total net cost of the 2022 SIP strategy is $96.2 billion, which includes $33.8 billion in CARB measures and $62.3 billion in measures that require federal actions between 2023 and 2037 with an annual cost of $8.8 billion. 

Although Californians have made progress in cleaning the air, more than 21 million people still live in areas that exceed the 70 ppb standard. According to CARB, a disproportionate number of those most impacted by high ozone levels live in low-income and disadvantaged communities that typically experience greater exposure to diesel exhaust and other toxic air pollutants than surrounding areas. 

The new plan is expected to achieve more than 200 tons per day of NOx and 40 tons per day of reactive organic gasses (ROG) emissions reductions statewide in 2037.  

“A large portion of these reductions will occur in and around communities near major roadways and ports, airports and warehouses, providing substantial health benefits,” CARB wrote in a statement. 

CARB will be considering regional SIPs later this year and into early 2023 for  the South Coast Air Basin, San Joaquin Valley, Ventura County, Eastern Kern County, the Sacramento metropolitan area, Western Mojave Desert and Coachella Valley, who need additional emission reductions. 

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