Clean Air Program

We’re consulting our regional agencies how to step up and provide real climate leadership beyond California’s efforts. The fact is, regardless of State claims that it is reaching its greenhouse gas reduction targets, the Bay Area’s direct GHG emissions have continued to rise. Our immediate focus is on the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. The Air District adopted an ambitious and visionary 2017 Clean Air Plan with a first in the nation Regional Climate Protection Strategy to reduce GHGs by 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Despite having adopted a visionary plan, to date the Board has refused to even cap GHGs from refineries, the largest industrial sector of regional emissions. 350 Bay Area’s Clean Air and Fossil Fuel Resistance programs are united in the effort to rein in GHGs and other pollutants from refineries.

In addition to pressing for caps on refinery emissions, the Clean Air Program is pressing for building decarbonization and working with 350 Bay Area’s Transportation campaign on holistic solutions to Bay Area transportation GHG emissions. Read our comment letter on MTC’s and ABAG’s Plan Bay Area 2040.

Program goal The Bay Area will do its fair share to stabilize earth’s climate. This means transforming our energy infrastructure from dependence on fossil fuels to the use of clean energy. This will require concerted policy action by local agencies, counties and cities, backed by the commitment of Bay Area residents and businesses. In doing our part for the earth’s climate, we will assure that all in the Bay Area breathe healthy, clean air, because the co-pollutants emitted from fossil fuel combustion, the main source of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, will be virtually eliminated. The Bay Area’s Energy Consumption in 2012

Source: California Energy Commission and Air Resources Board, as referenced in the 2014 Report on the Advisory Council’s Activities to the BAAQMD Board of Directors, April 15, 2015 (p. 21)

Bay Area regional agencies, counties and cities have fundamental authority to make decisions that decide how our region will achieve the transition to clean energy.

  • The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Air District, BAAQMD) according to California and federal law, has primary responsibility to control non-tailpipe GHGs which total 60% of regional emissions.
  • The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county Bay Area.
  • The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) provides planning and research resources related to land use, housing, environmental and water resource protection, disaster resilience, energy efficiency and hazardous waste mitigation, risk management, financial services and staff training to local cities, and towns.

About 40% of Bay Area GHG emissions come from transportation sources. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) determines allowable emissions from the tailpipes of cars and trucks sold and driven in California. However, transportation emissions are also impacted by land use planning, transit availability and infrastructure spending. BAAQMD, MTC and ABAG all have significant responsibility and the necessary authority to develop and implement emission reduction strategies from the transportation sector.

In the eleven years since California adopted the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32, and SB 32 amendments of 2016) actual GHG emissions have continued to rise in the Bay Area.

Since 2012, the Clean Air Program has focused it’s objectives on the creation and implementation of a regional Climate Plan that will ensure Bay Area  GHG emissions will be reduced to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. On November 6, 2013 the Air District Board took the fist action toward achieving our vision.

Mighty mighty 350 Bay Area volunteers after the Air District Board voted to adopt our Climate Resolution

Clean air program victories to date
  • In 2013, following a year of 350 Bay Area organizing and lobbying, the Air District Board adopted an ambitious Climate Resolution committing to: 1) the 2050 GHG emission reduction goal and 2) the establishment of a comprehensive program to develop and implement a plan to achieve the goal.
  • In 2014, the Air District Board adopted a one-page 10-point Regional Climate Protection Strategy directing staff on future work.
  • In 2014 and 2015 the Air District raised GHG emission fees to help fund the Climate Protection program.
  • 2014-2016: the Air District established and staffed a Climate Protection section with a manager and seven staff to work full time on the Program. Before the 2013 Resolution was adopted, only one full time staff was assigned to the Climate Protection Program.
  • In 2017 the Air District adopted the 2017 Clean Air Plan (2017 CAP) and Regional Climate Protection Strategy. This document is the embodiment of the Clean Air Program’s objectives since late 2012.
Current focus

350 Bay Area is the primary climate-focused stakeholder partner with the Air District offering climate policy analysis and advocacy, and pressing for strong 2017 CAP implementation measures. Going forward, our priorities dovetail with those set forth in the 2017 CAP to focus on GHG emissions reductions from the three core sectors:

  • Industry,
  • Transportation, and
  • Buildings.

We’re networking with teams of people learning about these sectors and providing guidance for Air District policy initiatives.

You don’t need to be an expert to join a team. Interest, desire and commitment are the magic ingredients of successful advocacy.

Join our discussion list to stay current with the campaign.

Quick links

Bay Area Climate FAQsClimate Resolution adopted by the Air District Board November 6,2013 following months of lobbying by 350 Bay Area Air District’s 2017 Clean Air Plan: Spare the Air Cool the Climate establishing a comprehensive vision and ambitious goals and a pathway to a carbon free Bay Area Air District’s Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory (updated in 2015) Consumption-based Inventory of Bay Area GHG emissions prepared by UC Berkeley and the Air District Campaign Archive and links to other BayCAP documents