Assembly Bill (AB) 32

Establishes a comprehensive program of regulatory and market mechanisms to achieve real, quantifiable, cost-effective reductions of greenhouse gases for the State of California. AB 32 identifies the California Air Resources Board as the agency responsible for monitoring and reducing statewide greenhouse gas emissions, with a target to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The AB 32 Scoping Plan, adopted in December 2008, recommends that local governments adopt a greenhouse gas reduction target of 15% below current (2005 to 2008) levels by 2020.

Butte County Air Quality Management District (Air District)

The Air District is responsible for monitoring air quality in the county and ensuring the attainment of air quality standards and advocating for cleaner air standards.

California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)

A state law requiring state and local agencies to assess the environmental impacts of a proposed private or public project they undertake or permit. If a proposed activity has the potential for a significant adverse environmental impact, an environmental impact report must be prepared and certified as to its adequacy before action can be taken on the proposed project.

Climate Action Plan

A climate action plan is a planning document that identifies ways in which the community and county can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Community-Wide Greenhouse Gas Inventory

Looks at greenhouse gas emissions caused by all activities within a county'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 method of reducing energy waste. Examples of energy conservation include turning off lights, heating, and motors when not needed.

Energy Efficiency

A method of doing the same or more work with less energy. Examples of energy efficiency include replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs or buying an Energy Star appliance to use less energy for the same or greater output.

Green Building

A sustainable or "green" building is a holistic approach to design, construction, and demolition that minimizes the building's impact on the environment, the occupants, and the community.

Greenhouse Effect

The trapping and build-up of heat in the atmosphere near the Earth's surface is often called the "greenhouse effect". Some of the heat flowing back toward space from the Earth's surface is absorbed by greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere and then reradiated back toward the Earth's surface. As the atmospheric concentrations of these gases rise, the amount of heat reradiating back to the Earth's surface increases as well, resulting in global temperature increases (Source: EPA 2013).

Greenhouse Gases

Gases that trap heat in the atmosphere are often called greenhouse gases. Some greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide occur naturally and are emitted into the atmosphere through natural processes and human activities. Other greenhouse gases (e.g., fluorinated gases) are created and emitted solely through human activities. GHGs influence climate change through the greenhouse effect (see above).

Greenhouse Gas Inventory

A greenhouse gas inventory provides estimates of the number of greenhouse gases emitted to and removed from the atmosphere by human activities. A 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. Inventories include estimates for carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, hydrofluorocarbons, and perfluorocarbons, which are referred to as the "six Kyoto gases."

Senate Bill (SB) 375

Requires the California Air Resources Board to develop regional greenhouse gas 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 Butte County Sustainable Communities Strategy. Visit the California Air Resources Board for Sustainable Communities webpage for more information.

Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS)

The land use element of each metropolitan planning organization's regional transportation plan is required by SB 375. The SCS will demonstrate how the region will achieve the 2020 and 2035 vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas reduction targets for the region set by the California Air Resources Board. The Final Butte County SCS was adopted on December 13, 2012.


Community use of natural resources in a way that does not jeopardize the ability of future generations to live and prosper.

Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT)

A key measure of the overall street and highway use. Reducing vehicle miles traveled is often a major objective in efforts to reduce vehicular congestion and achieve regional air quality goals.

Water Conservation

Reducing water use, such as turning off taps, shortening shower times, and cutting back on outdoor irrigation.

Water Efficiency

Replacing older technologies and practices in order to accomplish the same results with less water, for example, by replacing toilets with new low-water-using models and by installing "smart controllers" in irrigated areas.