Two of the world’s largest milk producers—India and Brazil—have signed on to California’s pledge to cut methane emissions 40% in the next six years. Seven countries in total joined the new Subnational Methane Action Initiative. Governor Gavin Newsom’s latest climate action ramps up a 30% pledge that went global in 2021 and that now has 150 countries on board.

Newsom promoted methane satellites when announcing the initiative at Climate Week NYC. Last year the Legislature approved $100 million for the administration to fund eight commercial satellites that can detect methane plumes. The technology enables the state to quickly cap massive natural gas leaks, such as the one that occurred in Aliso Canyon in 2015. It can also find fugitive emissions from oil wells.

But the administration did not mention the significant—though controversial—role of dairy digesters in slashing overall methane emissions. Michael Boccadoro, executive director of Dairy Cares, often reminds the Air Resources Board that it cannot achieve the methane goal without dairies. He noted in a workshop last week that digesters account for 90% of the reductions to date, setting the state on a course to surpass its goal for short-lived climate pollutants.

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CARB is hosting its first hearing on the Low Carbon Fuel Standard next week and will consider an appeal from environmental groups to eliminate credits for digesters.

After fallout over clean car credits going to wealthier communities, the board has been sensitive to its regulations’ potential social justice impacts. The digester situation is now escalating to combat science—similar to the state’s decades-long water battles—with board members distrustful of independent studies and seeking an analysis focused instead on environmental justice.