Air quality in the Bay Area has improved significantly in recent years due to tight regulation of emissions from all sources, including industrial facilities and motor vehicles. Smoggy days have declined substantially over the past 40 years. Despite this progress, the Bay Area continues to exceed state and/or national standards for ozone (smog) and particulate matter (PM) on a limited number of days each year.
With about 27 million metric tons of GHGs a year coming from cars and light trucks in the Bay Area, increasing the public’s willingness to take transit, instead of driving, is a key component of meeting climate protection goals.
Estimated to contribute $11 billion to the local economy, the Napa Valley wine industry is both the economic engine of Napa County and one of the County government’s chief allies in climate protection.
Sonoma County’s nine cities and multiple county agencies have been engaged in local climate protection efforts for more than ten years. In 2002, Sonoma became the first county to have all its jurisdictions conduct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventories. In 2005, all ten local jurisdictions adopted a joint target of reducing GHG emissions to 25% below 1990 levels by 2015. In 2009 Sonoma took another pioneering step by establishing the Regional Climate Protection Authority (RCPA).
Local efforts to reduce energy dependence and slow the threat of global warming have the potential to create significant business opportunities. But as the emerging “green economy” grows in Oakland and throughout the East Bay, where can business leaders turn for skilled green collar labor? Enter the Oakland Green Jobs Corps, a program to meet the needs of local green businesses and provide green job training and employment opportunities for low-income residents.
Alameda County used an inclusive process to develop their 10-year Climate Action Plan for Government Services and Operations which touches on every aspect of County operations from fleets and buildings to capital planning and how services are delivered.
Green@Home is a program aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of households by sending trained community-based volunteers to visit neighbors in their homes, install several energy-saving devices, and perform a home energy assessment.
SF Environment along with Sustainable Earth Initiatives have created a comprehensive Clean Fleets guide and fuel tracking tool to help commercial fleet operators reduce their carbon footprint.
Bay Area Transportation GHGs
Greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from the transportation sector accounts for 40 to 60% of the global warming pollution in most Bay Area Counties. These emissions can be some of the toughest to reduce since there are hundreds of thousands of individual vehicles and they operate outside of the direct control of local governments.
Daly City’s green building ordinance requires new single and multi-family residential buildings to be constructed in an effort to reduce construction waste, improve energy efficiency, conserve water, and promote building practices and materials that protect the environment and the inhabitants.
Established in 2008, the Santa Clara County Climate Change and Sustainability Program has developed a Climate Action Plan for Operations and Facilities, and Green Building Policy for County Government Buildings. Both documents are available on the Office of Sustainability’s web page.