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Air Quality 101

California has made significant progress in improving its environment and reducing air pollution, all while achieving economic growth. CCEEB is committed to addressing our shared environmental problems through innovative policy solutions. This collection of resources is to support dialogue and shared understanding through the basics of air quality regulations in California.  

Types of Air Pollution
Sources of Air Pollution and Responsible Agencies

Greenhouse gases mix globally in the atmosphere causing climate change through the greenhouse effect. The primary regulatory agency is the California Air Resources Board.

Pollutants

Gases that trap heat in the atmosphere are called greenhouse gases.

  • Methane
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Nitrous oxide
  • Hydrofluorocarbons
  • Perfluorocarbons
  • Sulfur hexaflouride

Sources

Source: CARB, 2017. Reported as percentages

Impacts

  • Sea level rise
  • Increased frequency of extreme weather events
  • Shifts of flora and fauna

Regulations

The California Global Warming Solution Act of 2006 (AB 32) is the foundation to California’s watershed climate change program. It requires a sharp reduction of GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

The California Air Resources Board is the lead regulatory agency for addressing climate change and GHG in California.

 

Criteria Pollutants refer to air pollutants for which the U.S. EPA has established national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) under the federal Clean Air Act. These six pollutants mix regionally and contributed to both environmental and human health impacts.

Pollutants

  • Ground-level Ozone
  • Particulate Matter
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Lead
  • Sulfur Dioxide
  • Nitrogen Dioxide

Sources

Criteria Pollutant emissions are emitted by multiple sources, both mobile and stationary. Mobile sources such as cars, trucks, and buses are significant emitters in urban environments. Though natural or biogenic sources, such as dust and wildfires, are also sources criteria pollutants.

Impacts

Regulations

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