Climate Protection

Learn how climate change is affecting our planet, how you can help reduce greenhouse gases, and what the Air District is doing to protect the climate.

Climate Change

Earth’s climate is changing in ways that affect our weather, oceans, ecosystems, and global temperatures. Human activities contribute to climate change, primarily through the release of billions of tons of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and other gases each year. These greenhouse gases, or GHGs, trap heat in the atmosphere and create changes in our climate, such as:

  • Changing weather and precipitation patterns
  • Increases in ocean temperatures, sea level, and acidity
  • Melting of glaciers and sea ice
  • Adverse impacts to water supply and water quality
  • Increased demand for electrical cooling
  • Increased smog and associated respiratory and heart-related illnesses

Learn more about the science of climate change from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Air District Programs

The Air District is reducing GHG emissions and protecting the climate through several programs, initiatives, and resources.

Spare the Air, Cool the Climate: A Blueprint for Clean Air and Climate Protection in the Bay Area (2017 Plan)

Spare the Air, Cool the Climate: A Blueprint for Clean Air and Climate Protection in the Bay Area (2017 Plan) will be a roadmap for the Air District’s efforts over the next few years to reduce air pollution and protect public health and the global climate. The 2017 Plan will identify potential rules, programs, and strategies that the Air District can pursue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Bay Area in support of the agency’s goal of reducing region-wide GHGs to 80 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2050.

The draft control measures proposed to be included in the 2017 Plan are ready for review and comment. These measures reflect the input Air District staff received from internal and external working groups, stakeholders, and individuals who attended the six open houses held in January and February of 2016. The 83 measures have been categorized within nine economic sectors. 

Detailed descriptions of individual control measures are available on the Air District’s Open Air Forum. These control measures reflect a multi-pollutant control strategy that is designed to protect public health and the climate. They build upon existing regional, state, and national programs that have successfully reduced air pollution and improved public health over the past several decades.

Climate Protection Program

Learn about the Climate Protection Program and its successful initiatives, including the 2050 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goal and Regional Climate Protection Strategy.

Greenhouse Gas Measurement Program

The Air District’s greenhouse gas measurement program informs and supports its climate protection activities. The program includes a long-term fixed-site GHG monitoring network that measures concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and carbon monoxide at four sites. A dedicated mobile GHG monitoring research van also provides assistance in identifying emission hot spots and enhancing the regional emissions inventory.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories

The Air District has prepared two greenhouse gas emissions inventories. Both inventories estimate emissions of the “Kyoto 6” GHGs: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxides, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride. 

The production-based inventory analyzes the amount of GHG emissions generated by the production of goods and services that occurs within the boundaries of the Bay Area. 

The consumption-based inventory estimates the amount of GHGs emitted by the production of goods and services anywhere in the world that are consumed by Bay Area residents, regardless of where the GHG emissions were released to the atmosphere.

Climate Resources

Access local climate resources, such as organizations, committees, and teams committed to protecting our climate.

How You Can Help

The most severe climate change impacts can still be avoided or reduced if we act now. Following are 10 actions you can take to protect the climate.

1. Drive less and drive smart.

Reducing the amount you drive will cut GHG emissions, as will driving as fuel efficiently as possible. Avoid speeding, rapid acceleration, and heavy braking. Inefficient driving can reduce gas mileage by 30%.

2. Use better lighting. 

Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs that use 60% less energy. Learn how to safely dispose of compact fluorescent bulbs.

3. Pull the plug on electronics. 

Disconnect electronic devices when not in use. Passive energy drain accounts for about 10% of all home energy use.

4. Reduce air travel. 

Air travel is one of the fastest-growing producers of GHGs . Take vacations closer to home and use teleconferences for business meetings whenever possible.

5. Cut extra heating and cooling. 

Set your thermostat two degrees higher in the summer and two degrees lower in the winter to save 1 ton of carbon emissions each year.

6. Turn off the tap. 

Save water to save energy 20% of electricity and 30% of natural gas in California is used to transport, treat, and heat water and wastewater.

7. Buy local. 

Buy more groceries and products locally and avoid purchasing products that must be transported long distances.

8. Lose the packaging. 

Buy products with light packaging or packaging made from recyclable or compostable materials. Manufacturing, transporting, and throwing away packaging all create GHG emissions.

9. Cancel your carbon footprint. 

Calculate your GHG emissions, then offset the damage by purchasing credits that fund low-carbon energy alternatives. Learn how to calculate your emissions.

10. Speak up. 

Talk to your clients, vendors, community leaders, and elected officials. Tell them climate protection is important and you want it integrated in everyday life.

Contact Us

Geraldina Grunbaum
Senior Environmental Planner, Planning and Research

415.749.4956

Contact Us

Wood Burning Status
Wood Burning Status
  • Sunday,
    1/22

    No Spare the Air Alert in Effect

Last Updated: 6/11/2015