CARB unveils toolkit to help small businesses cut emissions

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The California Air Resources Board has approved a prototype toolkit that it will begin marketing to the state’s 3.4 million small businesses to help them reduce energy costs and help the state meet its ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.

CARB says the toolkit, still under development, can be found at www.CoolCalifornia.org and includes cost-effective actions, checklists, funding opportunities, success stories and a calculator that helps business owners voluntarily reduce their carbon footprint; also included is a small business award program.

“Small business owners have shown themselves to be adaptable, creative and driven — the perfect combination to meet tough challenges like climate change head-on,” says CARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. “We hope that everyone from the donut shop owner to the independent dry cleaner will give the toolkit a test run and get back to us to let us know what works in the real world and what needs fixing.”

The toolkit was created in response to AB 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, and the AB32 Scoping Plan adopted by CARB in December 2008. The board directed staff to create a toolkit to ensure California’s small businesses play a role and benefit from AB 32 emissions reduction strategies. CARB says it created the toolkit with a spectrum of public input and peer review, including small business owners, state and local government, business groups and nonprofits.

CARB, which says it is treating the toolkit as a living document and still is looking for input as part of its continuous improvement, says it is committed to working with small businesses across the state to distribute and implement the toolkit effectively. A local government toolkit is expected to be considered by the board in May.