Climate Resolution proposed to BAAQMD Board by 350 Bay Area

Below is 350 Bay Area’s original Climate Resolution submitted to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board on May 9, 2013. Read the final Resolution as adopted after our negotiations with Air District Board Members and staff HERE.


RESOLUTION No. [      ]

A Resolution of the Board of Directors of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District

Resolution to lead the Development of a Regional Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Plan

WHEREAS, there is now overwhelming scientific evidence showing that atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) levels are increasing steadily at about three per cent annually; the Earth’s surface and ocean temperatures are rising; there are higher levels of moisture in the atmosphere; and the oceans are 30% more acidic due to absorption of high concentrations of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere; and

WHEREAS, every day, human activity worldwide puts approximately 90 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, with a quarter of a million tons released daily in the Bay Area; and

WHEREAS, total Bay Area GHG emissions exceed those of many developed countries, such as Portugal, Ireland, Israel, Denmark, and Sweden; and

WHEREAS, the Bay Area is the nation’s leader in clean energy research, development and investment—with a per capita gross metropolitan product among the highest in the world—and the Bay Area and its residents have the financial resources, awareness, concern, and commitment to lead the way on the climate protection we urgently need; and

WHEREAS, we are now seeing large-scale, worldwide disruptions in weather patterns predicted by climate scientists; in particular, extreme weather events—winter storms, hurricanes, flooding, heat waves, fires, and drought—are increasing in frequency, scale and intensity worldwide, largely due to human-caused increases in atmospheric GHGs; and

WHEREAS, 2012 was the hottest year ever on record in the US, as was the last decade; July 2012 marked the hottest month ever recorded; and, in 132 years of records nine of the planet’s 10 hottest years occurred since 2000; and

WHEREAS, as a coastal region with extensive wetlands, and as drinking water and water for irrigation for the Bay Area and all of California are at risk from salt water infiltration into the Sacramento and San Joaquin River Delta; the Bay Area is especially vulnerable to increasing risk from sea level rise and storm surge; and the critical tidal marshes of San Francisco Bay—habitat for tens of thousands of birds and other animals—are at risk of virtually disappearing within a century, as the sea’s inundation of the coastline could eliminate over 90% of the bay’s tidal wetlands; and

WHEREAS, effects on local weather increase the risk of reduced precipitation and more intense rainfall events, thus increasing risk of crop damage, wildfires and flooding to developed areas, electricity generating plants and transformers, roadways, railways, airports, and other transportation, power, water, and general infrastructure;, impacting air quality, agriculture and various industries; and

WHEREAS, increased concentrations of ground-level carbon dioxide and longer growing seasons could result in higher pollen production, worsening allergies, and increases in respiratory diseases and parasitic infections; and

WHEREAS, higher temperatures and heat waves increase demand for electricity and thus combustion of fossil fuels, generating airborne particulates leading to increased respiratory disease, and also increase ground level ozone concentrations causing direct lung injury and increasing the severity of respiratory diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; and

WHEREAS, intensification of weather effects will cause ecosystem changes that include migration of the vectors (organisms that do not cause disease but transmit infection by carrying pathogens from one host to another) and animal hosts that cause certain diseases prevalent in the US, such as Lyme disease and hantavirus; and

WHEREAS, droughts can result in shortages of clean water and may concentrate contaminants that negatively affect the chemistry of surface waters in some areas which can lead to public health impacts; and

WHEREAS, a growing number of experts and leaders have stated that our escalating climate crisis constitutes an authentic planetary emergency; and

WHEREAS, average global surface temperatures have already risen by 0.8°C, most of this since the 1980s; and

WHEREAS, consensus has been reached among scientists and political leaders around the world that warming in excess of 2°C (3.6°F) is highly dangerous and unacceptable; and

WHEREAS, scientists tell us that emissions must peak before 2020 and decline steeply afterwards, or the world will likely exceed 2°C of warming; and

WHEREAS, conservative estimates by the world’s climate scientists state that to avoid exceeding 2°C warming, emissions of GHGs must be brought to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050; and

WHEREAS, the future course of climate change and its potentially disastrous impacts depend on our choices made today, and to avoid 2°C of warming significant action is needed now; and

WHEREAS, Executive Order S-3-05, signed by Governor Schwarzenegger and reaffirmed by Governor Brown, established as State policy: “the following greenhouse gas emission reduction targets are hereby established for California: by 2010, reduce GHG emissions to 2000 levels; and by 2020, reduce GHG emissions to 1990 levels; and by 2050, reduce GHG emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels”; and

WHEREAS, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s 2010 Clean Air Plan set performance objectives to “Reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) to 1990 levels by 2020 and 40% below 1990 levels by 2035”; and

WHEREAS, the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara have already endorsed the 2050 goal as stated above; Napa County’s draft Community Climate Action Plan endorses this goal; the cities of Hayward, San Rafael, Belmont, Burlingame, Daly City, Millbrae, Pacifica, San Mateo, Morgan Hill and San Jose have also adopted the goal of achieving GHG emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050; and in 2008 Sonoma County enacted the most aggressive, comprehensive, near term climate action plan in the United States, on par with commitments made by the EU, the UK, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden, aiming for a 25% reduction in GHG emissions below 1990 levels by 2015; and

WHEREAS, a reduction in Bay Area GHG emissions to 80% below 1990 levels would result in reductions in emissions of criteria air pollutants and toxic pollutants far deeper than those called for by the Air District’s Clean Air Plan; and

WHEREAS, the federal Clean Air Act and California Health & Safety Code §39002 establish that the BAAQMD has primary authority to regulate non-vehicular sources of air pollution, including GHGs, and to enact more stringent requirements than federal or State law; and

WHEREAS, the BAAQMD’s Mission is “To protect and improve public health, air quality, and the global climate”; and

WHEREAS, one of the BAAQMD’s Core Values is: “Leadership—The Air District will be at the forefront of air quality improvement and will pioneer new strategies to achieve healthy air and protect the climate”;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board of Directors recognizes that the threat of catastrophic climate change is an escalating emergency, and builds on its existing Climate Protection Program by including a performance objective for the 2014 Clean Air Plan to reduce District GHG emissions to at least 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, and by leading the effort to develop a Regional Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Plan, to include the following emission reduction strategies for non-vehicular sources:

  • Deep energy efficiency improvements,
  • Decarbonization of regional electricity supply, and
  • Increased electrification of existing fossil fuel uses;

and to include the following Program Elements:

  • A scoping document to identify GHG emissions for which the District is the primary regulatory authority,
  • An Enhanced Regional GHG Emission Inventory and periodic updates to forecast emissions and document the effectiveness of regional, state and federal GHG emission reduction efforts,
  • Investments in staff development to enable staff to carry out the Regional Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Plan,
  • Research and documentation of current best practices and developing technologies by sector, including the potential of integrated design as existing infrastructure, operational, and manufacturing methods are replaced,
  • An outreach plan to representatives of affected industry, commercial interests, and governing bodies to engage them in developing consensus about the need, and path forward, for deep cuts in carbon emissions through long-term infrastructure changes,
  • Partnerships with research institutions,
  • Rapid implementation of financial and fundraising strategies and partnerships to provide grants and incentives for the early adoption of “proof of concept” GHG-reducing projects,
  • An outreach plan, including extensive public information campaigns to build community support, and
  • An increase in the District’s Greenhouse Gas Fees to cover the cost of program development.


The foregoing resolution was duly and regularly introduced, passed and adopted at a regular meeting of the Board of Directors of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District on the Motion of Director ________________, seconded by Director _______________, on the ____ day of ________________, 2013, by the following vote of the Board:




Ash Kalra

Chairperson of the Board of Directors


Carole Groom

Secretary of the Board of Directors