CARB convened for the first time in January 1968, following enabling legislation prompted by the chronic, crippling smog that enveloped Southern California, its residents and economy in the 1950’s and `60’s. The Board quickly became a national and international leader in air pollution regulatory strategy and pollution control technologies for stationary and vehicular sources alike. That leadership was reflected in the 1970 Clean Air Act, when Congress granted California–alone among the states–the authority to adopt vehicle emission standards more stringent than those promulgated by the federal government. (Attendees were reminded at the “CARB at 50” conference that this longstanding federal deference to California auto emission standards is due in large part to strong and successful lobbying by then-California Republican Governor Ronald Reagan.)
The California Air Resources Board has achieved a truly remarkable record of success over the past half century. California’s air quality today is roughly 95% better than it was when the Board first convened in 1968. Air pollution control technologies pioneered by CARB in California have been replicated nationally and internationally. In 2004, CARB enacted the world’s first GHG emission reduction standards for motor vehicles, which was only the start of a multitude of innovative and successful Board regulatory strategies to address the overarching environmental challenge of our time–climate change. And, last but not least, CARB demonstrated that it is a regulator with considerable bite when the occasion requires it–as the Board amply demonstrated in responding to Volkswagen’s fraudulent “gaming” of emissions control systems in the diesel vehicles VW marketed in California and worldwide.For more on Reagan the environmentalist see here.
The full conference proceedings are here.