Most appliances, like furnaces and water heaters, are powered by fossil fuels and emit nitrogen oxides (NOx) and other harmful pollutants in and near our homes. These emissions have serious public health and environmental consequences for Californians, contributing to approximately five hundred premature deaths every year and hampering California’s efforts to meet its ambitious climate goals. Governmental action is needed to facilitate more widespread adoption and development of these healthier alternative technologies available today.
This Pritzker Brief examines California air districts’ legal authority to adopt standards requiring zero-NOx appliances and suggests policy mechanisms to help ensure that the transition to such appliances is equitable and affordable. The brief concludes that air districts can employ their existing authority to adopt zero-NOx standards in order to reduce air pollution, mitigate health risks, and help avert the climate crisis.