Climate Change

Why it Matters

  • In 2006, California adopted the Global Warming Solutions Act, which set a goal to reduce GHG emissions to 1990 level by 2020
  • California is on track to meet that goal.
  • To continue progress, California adopted a goal to reduce emissions 40 percent below 1990 level by 2030.
  • California’s long-term goal is to reduce GHG emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. This is the magnitude of reduction needed, globally, to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
  • Meeting the 2030 and 2050 targets will require more rapid and aggressive emission reductions than have been necessary to meet the 2020 target.
  • Additional Resources: CARB Climate Change



CA Greenhouse Gas Inventory 2014

By Sector and Activity (2016 Edition)
CA Greenhouse Gas Inventory by Sector Graph
Data Source: CARB. California Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory - 2016 Edition.

Why it Matters

  • Transportation is the largest source of GHG emissions in California, which is due in large part to passenger vehicles
  • Electricity generation and industrial emissions account for the majority of the non-transportation emissions
  • California’s climate program achieves significant emission reductions through advanced clean cars, zero emission vehicles, low carbon fuels, renewable energy, and energy efficiency.
Additional resources: GHG Inventory Program, AB 32 Scoping Plan

CA Greenhouse Gas Inventory 2014

By Gas (2016 Edition)
CA Greenhouse Gas Inventory by Gas Graph
Data Source: CARB. California Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory - 2016 Edition.

Why it Matters

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the largest contributor to GHG emissions, and has a long-lifetime in the atmosphere
  • CO2 emissions are largely sourced from the combustion of fossil fuels such as gasoline, natural gas, and oil.
  • In addition to reducing CO2, California is also taking steps to reduce GHG emissions that have shorter lifetimes in the atmosphere – these are called short-lived climate pollutants.
  • Reducing emissions of short-lived climate pollutants can provide additional near-term climate benefits.
  • Methane (CH4) is an important short-lived climate pollutant, and is emitted predominantly from the production of coal, natural gas, and oil, livestock, and from the decay of organic waste in municipal landfills.
Additional resources: GHG Inventory Program, Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy

Statewide Annual Average Tempuratures (1895-2015)

Statewide Annual Average Temperatures
Data Source: Western Regional Climate Center. Historical Climate Information.

Why it Matters

  • Average temperatures in California are rising, and the last several years have been some of the hottest on record.
  • Rising temperatures are driven by the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
  • Statewide average temperatures are projected to continue to rise over the coming century, with greater warming projected in the summer months. It is also projected that the amount of warming will be higher in the inland regions of the State.
  • Increases in both average temperatures and in the frequency and severity of extreme heat events have negative impacts on human health.

Acres Burned by Wildfires Statewide (1950-2015)

Acres Burned by Wildfires Statewide
Data Source: CalFIRE. Historical Wildfire Activity Statistics (Redbooks)

Why it Matters

  • The number and size of wildfires varies over time as a result of weather conditions. However, over the long-run, the area burned by wildfire is increasing.
  • As the climate warms, the frequency, size, and behavior of wildfires is projected to change, including an increase in the number of large wildfires.
  • Over the past several decades, the number of acres burned has continued to increase, which is the result of a combination of factors, including overgrown forests, drought, and warming temperatures.
  • As a result of the drought and an increase in pests, California is in the middle of a tree mortality emergency. Dead and dying trees increase the amount of fuel available to feed wildfires.