BayCAP campaign archive

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2013 BayCAP Slide Presentation


The Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s Mission is “to protect and improve public health, air quality and the global climate.” We petitioned the Air District to use its authority to:

  • Declare that catastrophic climate disruption is an escalating emergency
  • Act on its mission by adopting aggressive programs by July 2014 to reduce Bay Area greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050*.

The Air District Board adopted our goal on November 6, 2013. Staff have begun to develop an implementation plan. We are tracking progress and offering proposals. We’re also organizing teams of constituents to reach out to their BAAQMD Board members and win their ongoing support for decisive action. Eventually it will be up to the Board to pass regulations requiring deep emission cuts.


The San Francisco Bay Area is equivalent to a wealthy small nation in terms of population, the level of GHG emissions and the size of it’s economy. Our region emits 100 millions tons per year of GHGs. This is equivalent to the emissions of nations such as Sweden, Israel, Ireland and Portugal. 80% below 1990 emissions would be 17.6 million tons per year.

The primary cause of global warming is the burning of fossil fuels. The Bay Area’s biggest export is refined product from the five oil refineries located in Contra Costa and Solano counties. Not only are we emitting GHGs at the level of a small developed nation, we are also exporting emissions around the globe, including refinery products exported to China that would be illegal to burn in California.

State law gives California’s 35 air districts, including BAAQMD, primary responsibility for control of air pollution, including greenhouse gases (GHGs) from virtually all non-vehicular sources. Plus, air districts are authorized to set stricter standards than those established by either California or the federal government. About 60% of Bay Area GHG emissions are non-vehicular.

California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) aims to reduce GHGs to 1990 levels by 2020. It’s a start, but not nearly enough. Federal action is stalled out, or even going backwards by encouraging more drilling. BAAQMD, covering the nine county Bay Area, has the power to take action where State and federal government efforts fall short.

California Baseline and GHG Emission Targets

Diagram from From “The Technology Path to Deep Greenhouse Gas Emissions Cuts by 2050: The Pivotal Role of Electricity” Science 6 January 2012

In reality, California is “meeting” the 2020 climate pollution reduction target through measures such as allowing refineries to get emission reduction “credits” by buying forests in places like Michigan. That means that by 2020, Bay Area Climate pollution will be nowhere near 1990 levels. The BayCAP campaign aims to REALLY reduce Bay Area carbon and methane pollution emissions. Curbing greenhouse gases will also curb other air pollutants and benefit the health and well being of Bay Area residents. Buying forests in Michigan will not do that.

Scientists tell us that to avoid catastrophic warming the average rise in global temperature must be kept below 2 °C (3.6 °F). To keep warming below 2 °C we need extremely deep reductions in all GHGs but especially carbon dioxide (CO2). Conservative scientific consensus has concluded that to keep warming under 2 °C, we need to reduce annual worldwide GHG emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

When signing AB 32 into law in 2006, Governor Schwarzenegger recognized this by also signing Executive Order S-3-05 setting a 2050 target to reduce GHG emissions 80% below 1990 levels. However, seven years later California still has no legislation enacting this necessary goal.

President Obama’s recent climate action support is a most welcome development, but the measures he has laid out are less ambitious than those California already has in place. Neither federal plans nor California’s measures will achieve the deep reductions we need to protect our climate from catastrophic warming. Solid comprehensive action must start somewhere, to demonstrate it’s doable.

We need to do our fair share to protect the world’s climate.

BAAQMD has the statutory authority to take meaningful action. We want to work together as a community to step up to the challenge.

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Campaign Action

Unanimous Vote – BAAQMD Board approves Resolution to cut Bay Area climate pollutants from 100 to 17 million tons per year by 2050

WATCH – Webcast of 11/6/2013 Board meeting


The Bay Climate Action Plan (BayCAP) campaign is lobbying the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board to:

Declare that catastrophic climate disruption is an escalating emergency.

Act on its mission by adopting aggressive programs by July 2014 to reduce Bay Area greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.We want the Air District to develop a Regional Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Plan to achieve the GHG reductions we need by 2050.

Our Path Forward

We submitted a Resolution for the Air District Board to adopt that would establish a program to develop the Regional GHG Emission Reduction Plan.

An amended Resolution that met our expectations was approved by the Board’s Climate Protection Committee (chaired by San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos) on October 23. It went to a vote by the full Board (chaired by San Jose City Council Member Ash Kalra) on November 6.


Earlier, we met with Climate Committee members to secure their support. There are nine members. Chair Avalos and Members Susan Adams (Marin County), Teresa Barrett (Petaluma), John Gioia (Contra Costa), Jan Pepper (Los Altos) and Shirlee Zane (Sonoma County) pledged to vote yes on our Resolution. We had fruitful discussions with  Mark Ross (Martinez), and Climate Protection Committee Vice Chair David Hudson (San Ramon). Committee Member Scott Hagertty (Contra Costa County) declined to talk with us and missed the meeting. We went for 100% yes votes and we got it!

We also met with BAAQMD Board Chair Ash Kalra (San Jose) who expressed strong support for the Resolution and even attended the Climate Protection Committee meeting although he is not on that Committee. In addition, we met with incoming 2014 Board Chair Nate Miley (Alameda County) who was very receptive to our ideas. We had a good follow-up meeting with him on November 20.



Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane, Taylor Hawke, Jane Vosberg, and Shirley Johnson 8/8/13


Peter Anderson, Barbara Rothkrug, Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams and Taylor Hawke 5/30/13



The Air District Board adopted a 10-Point Climate Action Work Plan on April 2, 2014. Read it here.