AB 32 (Assembly Bill 32)
Establishes a comprehensive program of regulatory and market mechanisms to achieve real, quantifiable, cost-effective reductions of greenhouse gases (GHG) for the State of California. AB 32 identifies the California Air Resource Board (CARB) as the agency responsible for monitoring and reducing statewide GHG emissions, with a target to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The AB 32 Scoping Plan, adopted in December 2008, recommends that local governments adopt a GHG reduction target of 15% below current (2005 to 2008) levels by 2020.
Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) CEQA Guidelines
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) adopted updated CEQA Guidelines in June2010. The update includes numeric, efficiency, and plan-level GHG thresholds of significance to ensure that local jurisdictions in the Bay Area meet AB 32 targets. The Guidelines also establish a definition for a Qualified GHG Reduction Strategy, which can be developed and adopted locally as the plan-level threshold of significance. For more information, see http://www.baaqmd.gov/Divisions/Planning-and-Research/CEQA-GUIDELINES.aspx.
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
A state law requiring state and local agencies to assess the environmental impacts of a proposed private or public project they undertake or permit. If a proposed activity has the potential for a significant adverse environmental impact, an environmental impact report (EIR) must be prepared and certified as to its adequacy before action can be taken on the proposed project.
Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (CO2e)
A metric measure used to compare the emissions from various greenhouse gases based upon their global warming potential (GWP), or potency. Carbon dioxide equivalents are commonly expressed as “metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MTCO2E)." The carbon dioxide equivalent for a gas is derived by multiplying the tons of the gas by the associated GWP. For example, the GWP for methane is 21. This means that one metric ton of methane is equivalent to 21 metric ton of carbon dioxide. (Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/glossary.html)
Climate Change (also referred to as global climate change)
The term “climate change” is sometimes used to refer to all forms of climatic inconsistency, but because the Earth's climate is never static, the term is more properly used to imply a significant change from one climatic condition to another. In some cases, climate change has been used synonymously with the term “global warming”; scientists however, tend to use the term in the wider sense to also include natural changes in climate.
Climate Action Plan
A Climate Action Plan (CAP) is a planning document that identifies ways in which the community and city can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Community-wide Greenhouse Gas Inventory
Looks at greenhouse gas emissions caused by all activities within a city’s geographic boundary. Typical sectors include residential, commercial, and industrial energy use, transportation, off-road equipment, waste generation, and energy associated with water delivery and treatment.
A method of reducing energy waste Examples of energy conservation include turning off lights, heating, and motors when not needed.
A method of doing the same or more work with less energy. Examples of energy efficiency include replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs or buying an Energy Star appliance to use less energy for the same or greater output.
Sustainable or "green" building is a holistic approach to design, construction, and demolition that minimizes the building’s impact on the environment, the occupants, and the community.
Gases that trap heat in the atmosphere are often called greenhouse gases. Some greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide occur naturally and are emitted to the atmosphere through natural processes and human activities. Other greenhouse gases (e.g., fluorinated gases) are created and emitted solely through human activities. The principal greenhouse gases that enter the atmosphere because of human activities are:
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2): Carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, and coal), solid waste, trees and wood products, and also as a result of other chemical reactions (e.g., manufacture of cement). Carbon dioxide is also removed from the atmosphere (or “sequestered”) when it is absorbed by plants as part of the biological carbon cycle.
- Methane (CH4): Methane is emitted during the production and transport of coal, natural gas, and oil. Methane emissions also result from livestock and other agricultural practices and by the decay of organic waste in municipal solid waste landfills.
- Nitrous Oxide (N2O): Nitrous oxide is emitted during agricultural and industrial activities, as well as during combustion of fossil fuels and solid waste.
- Fluorinated Gases: Hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride are synthetic, powerful greenhouse gases that are emitted from a variety of industrial processes. Fluorinated gases are sometimes used as substitutes for ozone-depleting substances (i.e., CFCs, HCFCs, and halons). These gases are typically emitted in smaller quantities, but because they are potent greenhouse gases, they are sometimes referred to as High Global Warming Potential gases (“High GWP gases”).
(Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/index.html)
Greenhouse Gas Inventory
A greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory provides estimates of the amount of GHGs emitted to and removed from the atmosphere by human activities. A city or county that conducts an inventory looks at both community emission sources as well as emissions from government operations. A base year is chosen and used to gather all data from that year. Inventories include data collection from such things as vehicle miles traveled (VMT), energy usage from electricity and gas, and waste. Inventories include estimates for carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), hydroflourocarbons (HFCs), and perflourocarbons (PFCs), which are referred to as the “six Kyoto gases.”
Qualified GHG Reduction Strategy
See Climate Action Plan.
Requires the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to develop regional greenhouse gas emission reduction targets to be achieved from passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks for 2020 and 2035. The regional targets adopted by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission are a 7% reduction in per capita transportation emissions by 2020 and a 15% reduction by 2035 which will be achieved through the development of a Sustainable Communities Strategy as part of the One Bay Area Plan. (Source: http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/sb375/sb375.htm)
Community use of natural resources in a way that does not jeopardize the ability of future generations to live and prosper.
Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT)
A key measure of overall street and highway use. Reducing VMT is often a major objective in efforts to reduce vehicular congestion and achieve regional air quality goals.
Reducing water use, such as turning off taps, shortening shower times, and cutting back on outdoor irrigation.
Replacing older technologies and practices in order to accomplish the same results with less water, for example, by replacing toilets with new low-water-using models and by installing “smart controllers” in irrigated areas.