Climate Protection

Learn about the Air District’s efforts to address climate change, including efforts to measure and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Bay Area.

Climate Change and Air Quality

The earth is getting hotter. Scientists agree that temperatures are rising, and that this is causing changes to our climate and weather. In the Bay Area, we experience these changes in warmer average temperatures, diminished rainfall, and rising sea levels. Global warming, and the changes to climate and weather that it brings, is mainly caused by human activities that produce greenhouse gases, or GHGs, like burning fossil fuels in our cars, buildings, and industries.

The Air District has made steady progress over the past few decades in improving air quality in the Bay Area. This cleaner air has meant better health for Bay Area residents. Now, climate change is placing these clean air gains at risk. As a result, climate protection has become an important priority of the Air District.  

Air District Programs

Efforts and programs that address climate change and work to protect the climate have been integrated into ongoing work across the Air District.

Climate Protection Planning Program

The Planning and Climate Protection Division oversees and coordinates the Air District’s Climate Protection Planning Program. The goal of this program is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Bay Area. Keys to these efforts include establishing GHG reduction goals, developing and implementing the 2017 Clean Air Plan, and working with local governments

Greenhouse Gas Measurement Program

A critical element of the Air District’s climate protection work is its greenhouse gas measurement program. This program provides data on GHG concentrations and emissions in the Bay Area. Measurements of GHGs are taken at four permanent monitoring stations and with a van equipped with specialized air monitoring equipment.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories

The Air District has prepared two GHG emissions inventories. The production-based inventory looks at GHG emissions resulting from activities and goods and services produced within the Bay Area. The consumption-based inventory looks at GHG emissions from goods and services consumed by Bay Area residents, whether they were produced inside or outside of the Bay Area.

Air Quality Rules

The Air District also addresses GHG emissions through its rules and regulations. For example, Rule 8-34 controls methane emissions at solid waste disposal sites. New rules are currently being developed to further control GHG emissions from a variety of sources in the Bay Area.

Air Quality Permitting

Climate protection work is also part of the Air District’s permit programs. In 2008, the Air District became the first air district in the nation to impose a GHG fee on polluting sources. The fee is based on a permitted facility’s annual GHG emissions.  

Grants and Incentives

Many of the Air District’s grants and incentives programs help reduce emissions of GHGs from mobile sources. In particular, funding for electric vehicles, or EVs, and EV charging stations, along with funding for shuttle and rideshare services, as well as bicycle parking and bikeways, are key to reducing GHG emissions in the Bay Area.

Community Engagement

The Air District’s ongoing outreach and engagement programs include efforts to educate the Bay Area community, and children in particular, about the importance of protecting the climate. This work focuses on training and developing the next generation of climate leaders through efforts such as the Youth Outreach Education Program as well as a Community Grants Program.

Additional Information

More About Climate Change

Visit our More About Climate Change page to learn about the science and impacts of climate change and what you can do to lower your own GHG emissions.

Other Climate Protection Efforts

Visit our Other Climate Protection Efforts page to learn about what other regional agencies, the State of California, and the federal government are doing to protect the climate. 

Workshops and Events

View the Calendar for upcoming climate protection workshops and events.

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Planning and Climate Protection
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Last Updated: 4/22/2021