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Climate Action Plan Glossary
Assembly Bill (AB) 32: Officially known as the California Global Warming Solution Act of 2006, this law set a target for the state to reduce GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and identified the California Air Resources Board (CARB) as the responsible agency. CARB created the AB 32 Scoping Plan in 2008, which establishes a number of market-based and regulatory mechanisms to achieve the GHG reduction goal. The Scoping Plan also establishes local governments as key partners in addressing climate change, and suggests that communities can help achieve the state target by reducing their GHG emissions 15% below 2005–2008 levels by 2020.

Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD): The BAAQMD is the regional agency responsible with direct and indirect regulatory authority over sources of air pollution and GHGs within the San Francisco Bay Area. The BAAQMD can guide and inform how state and federal laws on air pollution and GHGs are applied within its jurisdiction, including providing recommendations for how local governments can create a Qualified Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategy (see California Environmental Quality Act). 

California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA): A state law requiring state and local agencies to assess the potential environmental impact of a proposed project, and to prepare an environmental impact report if the project may have significant impacts. If a community’s GHG reduction plan meets certain criteria, identified in the State CEQA Guidelines, it can be used as a Qualified Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategy. This allows proposed projects in the community to streamline their CEQA process if they are consistent with the GHG reduction plan.

Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (CO2e): A unit of measurement for GHGs that compares the emissions from various GHGs based upon their global warming potential, or potency. Carbon dioxide equivalents are commonly expressed as “metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MTCO2e).” For example, 1 metric ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) is equal to 1 metric ton of CO2e, while 1 metric ton of methane, which is approximately 21 times as potent as CO2 in trapping heat, is equal to 21 metric tons of CO2e. 

Climate Change: Refers to all substantial changes in Earth’s climate system. In the context of the CAP, it refers to changes in the climate caused by the release of GHGs as a result of human activity. In this use, “climate change” is also referred to as “global warming” or “anthropogenic [human-caused] global warming.” 

Climate Action Plan (CAP): A strategic planning document that identifies ways in which the community and city can address climate change through reduction of GHG emissions and/or adaptation to the potential impacts of climate change. Local CAPs often provide an inventory of GHG emissions, a forecast of emissions, a reduction target, a set of strategies to achieve the reduction target, and an implementation plan to reduce GHG emissions. A CAP that meets certain criteria can be counted as a Qualified Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategy, which allows for streamlining of some state laws (see California Environmental Quality Act). 

Community-wide Greenhouse Gas Inventory: An inventory is a detailed account of GHG emissions caused by all activities occurring 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. 

Energy Conservation: A means of saving energy by reducing or going without an energy-using service. Examples include turning off lights when leaving the room or using a heater less often.

Energy Efficiency: A means of saving energy by using less energy to provide the same or better service. An example includes replacing an old television with a model that requires less electricity.

Green Building: Sustainable or "green" building is a holistic approach to design, construction, and demolition that reduces the building’s impact on the environment, the occupants, and the community. 

Greenhouse Gases (GHGs): Gases that trap heat in the atmosphere are often called greenhouse gases. While some levels of GHGs occur naturally, and are critical for life on Earth, an increase in the concentrations of these gases as a result of human activity is responsible for climate change. There are six principal greenhouse gases that enter the atmosphere because of human activities:
•  Carbon dioxide (CO2): Carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, and coal), solid waste, wood and plant material, 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 burning of fossil fuels, from livestock and other agricultural practices, and by the decay of organic waste in municipal solid waste landfills and wastewater treatment plants. 
•  Nitrous oxide (N2O): Nitrous oxide is emitted during agricultural and industrial activities, as well as during combustion of fossil fuels and solid waste. 
•  Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs): Synthetic, powerful greenhouse gases that are emitted from a variety of industrial processes. Fluorinated gases are sometimes used as substitutes for ozone-depleting substances (e.g., chlorofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, 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 (High GWP) gases. 
•  Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6): A synthetic gas, sometimes used in electronics manufacturing and other industrial purposes. It is among the most potent of all GHGs, and is sometimes referred to as a High Global Warming Potential (High GWP) gas.

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 emissions 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, energy usage from electricity and gas, and waste. 

Qualified GHG Reduction Strategy: See Climate Action Plan. 

Senate Bill (SB) 375: Requires the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to develop regional GHG emissions 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)
Sustainability: Community use of natural resources in a manner 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. 

Water Conservation: A means of saving water by reducing or going without a water-using service. Examples include taking shorter showers and watering landscaped areas less frequently.

Water Efficiency: A means of saving water by using less water to provide the same or better degree of service. Examples including replacing toilets and washing machines with models that work just as well but require less water. 


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