California’s a winner at the U.N. conference

On Sunday at the U.N. climate conference in Bonn, California was given an award for its new law regulating short-lived pollutants that are highly damaging to public health. The award was presented to the state and accepted by the measure’s author, Democratic Sen. Ricardo Lara of Los Angeles, and Gov. Jerry Brown.

The inaugural Climate and Clean Air Award for Outstanding Policy is for the state’s leadership in reducing air pollution and greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

At the U.N. conference Sunday, state Sen. Ricardo Lara, left, and Gov. Jerry Brown receive an award for California’s climate policies. Photo by Julie Cart for CALmatters

The ceremony was hosted by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, a U.N.-affiliated international consortium of governments, businesses, advocacy organizations and scientific institutions focused on the issue of short-lived “super-pollutants.” The state Legislature and the Air Resources Board were also recognized for their work to reduce the powerful pollutants.

Lara’s law sets targets for emissions reductions throughout California, including 50 percent reduction in black carbon, 40 percent reduction in methane and 40 percent in hydroflurocarbon by 2030, using 2013 levels as a starting point.

Brown made brief remarks at the award ceremony. Lara joined a panel of other recipients to discuss their work.

They were not the only Californians to receive awards here. Fetzer Vineyards in Mendocino County was recognized for being the first winery in the state to operate on 100 percent renewable energy and the first Zero Waste-certified winery in the world.

Last year the company composted, recycled or otherwise repurposed 99.2 percent of its solid waste, according to a U.N. description of Fetzer’s achievement.

That award, known as the U.N. Climate Solutions Award, also known as the Momentum for Change initiative, recognizes businesses and individuals who innovate to combat climate change.

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