Climate Change


Climate change is real and the time to act is now. Greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change pose a serious threat to our environment, and it also puts our own health at risk. Rising temperatures in California brought about by climate change will most likely lead to more extreme heat events and air pollution, which means serious threats to lung health such as an increase and worsening of asthma attacks and hospital visits for breathing problems.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) estimates that the petroleum-fueled transportation sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in California, producing approximately 40% of California's carbon dioxide emissions. Pollution from heavy traffic also contributes to increased risk of respiratory problems which could lead to premature death.

The American Lung Association in California was instrumental in passing two landmark bills that will significantly reduce fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions:

  • AB 1493 – requires car companies to make cleaner cars with extremely low emissions of greenhouse gases for 2009 to 2016 model years.

    Advanced Clean Cars standards - adopted in 2012, requires car companies to produce even cleaner vehicles from 2017 to 2025, including a requirement that approximately 15 percent of vehicles sold in 2025 be powered by zero emission technologies.

  • AB 32 – sets the nation's first cap on greenhouse gas emissions. The law requires California's emissions to be reduced to 1990 levels by 2020 – a 25 percent reduction.  This law also establishes a system to monitor progress and make sure that the emission reductions are made on schedule.

A current focus of the American Lung Association in California's fight against climate change is in protecting California's clean air leadership that has resulted in key life-saving pollution reduction programs.


NEW! Driving California Forward

Driving California Forward is a new report released by the American Lung Association in California and Environmental Defense Fund highlighting the public health and other societal benefits of California's AB 32 fuel policies. According to this study, California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard and Cap and Trade fuels programs will result in cumulative benefits of $10.4 billion by 2020 and $23.1 billion by 2025 from avoided health costs, energy insecurity and climate change impacts. The transition to cleaner fuels and a more diverse vehicle fleet will result in cleaner air and better health for Californians, increased energy security and a healthier climate.

Full Report

Executive Summary

Fact Sheet (English)

Fact Sheet (Spanish)

If you'd like to take a more active role in our fight against climate change, join our Action Network today and take a proactive stance in the fight for healthy air and healthy lungs. 

Learn more about our fight to stop climate change: