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Fighting for Clean Air and Healthy Climate in California

Climate Change

The American Lung Association in California recognizes that climate change is among the greatest threats to public health we will face this century. Californians are already experiencing climate change effects including increasing air pollution and catastrophic wildfires, more frequent and severe heat waves, severe drought conditions and other threats to lung health.

Fortunately, California is leading the fight to reduce climate pollution from our cars, trucks and energy sources—reducing the impacts to our air and health and bringing multiple public health benefits as we reduce our reliance on harmful fossil fuels. California's movement toward a zero-carbon economy is movement toward a clean air future.

Health Professionals for Clean Air and Climate Action

The public health community has been a critical stakeholder in California’s clean air and climate leadership by raising public awareness of the severe health burdens caused by air pollution and climate change. More than 80 percent of Californians still live in areas with unhealthy air, and over 7,000 people die each year from exposure to air pollution.
Through its Health Professionals for Clean Air network (now Health Professionals for Clean Air and Climate Action), the Lung Association works with leading state, regional and local health and medical organizations for the development and adoption of strong clean air and climate change regulations that set the example for the rest of the country and the world.

Key Clean Air and Climate Policy Achievements

The Health Professionals for Clean Air has been a critical voice in the passage of key laws and regulations to make California a healthier place to live, including:

  • Currently opposing weakening and rollback of federal Cleaner Cars Standard and Californias authority to set its own standards.
  • Currently opposing repeal of the Clean Power Plan.
  • SB 100 sets a target of 100 percent clean renewable energy by 2045.
  • Supported stronger Low Carbon Fuel Standard target for 2030
  • SB 563 provides consumer incentives to change out wood burning appliances to cleaner heating alternatives.
  • SB 32 extends California’s greenhouse gas reduction targets to meet a 40% reduction by 2030.
  • SB 1383 sets targets for Short-Lived Climate Pollutants by 2030 (black carbon 50 percent, methane 40 percent and flourinated (“F”) Gases – 40%).
  • Scoping Plan – Guiding document for meeting California’s climate change goals, initially adopted in 2008 following passage of AB 32, the plan is being updated in 2017 to reflect 2030 climate goals.
  • Golden State Standards (SB 350) sets California on the path to 50% power from renewable energy sources and double energy efficiency in existing buildings both by 2030.
  • Charge Ahead California Initiative (SB 1275) puts 1 million clean, electric vehicles on California roads by 2023 and increase access to electric vehicles in disadvantaged communities.
  • California Clean Truck, Bus, and Off-Road Vehicle and Equipment Technology Program (SB 1204) will accelerate the development and deployment of zero emission technologies for heavy duty trucks and buses.
  • Alternative Fuel and Vehicle Technologies Act of 2013 (AB 8) provides over $2 billion in funds over the next decade to reduce diesel emissions and support clean alternative fuels and technology.
  • Advanced Clean Cars standards adopted in 2012 require car companies to produce even cleaner vehicles from 2017 to 2025, including a requirement for zero emission technologies.
  • Sustainable Communities Act of 2008 (SB 375) requires the California Air Resources Board to establish regional reduction targets of greenhouse gases in consultation with local agencies. The law also calls for metropolitan planning organizations to include sustainable or alternative community strategies in their regional transportation plans.
  • Low Carbon Fuel Standard of 2007 requires suppliers to reduce the carbon content of fuels sold in California by 10 percent by 2020. This is the nation's first regulation to reduce the carbon content of fuels.
  • The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) sets the nation's first cap on greenhouse gas emissions. AB 32 establishes a statewide target to reduce greenhouse gases 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.
  • Diesel regulations to clean up harmful and toxic emissions from dirty on-road and off-road diesel engines, vehicles and equipment including trucks, buses, and goods movement at ports.
  • The Clean Cars Law (AB 1493) adopted in 2002 requires car companies to make cleaner cars with extremely low emissions of greenhouse gases for 2009 to 2016 model years.

Below are medical and health organizations that have supported clean air and climate policies as part of Health Professionals for Clean Air

Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments
American Academy of Pediatrics - California District
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
American College of Physicians, California District
American Heart Association, Western States Affiliate
Asthma Coalition of Los Angeles County
Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative
Butte-Glenn Medical Association
California Academy of Family Physicians
California Black Health Network
California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health
California Medical Association
California Nurses Association
California Pan Ethnic Health Network
California Public Health Association – North
California Public Health Association - South
California Society for Pulmonary Rehabilitation
California Society for Respiratory Care
California Thoracic Society
Center for Climate Change and Health
Central California Asthma Collaborative
Climate 911
Community Action to Fight Asthma
Dignity Health
East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice
Fresno-Madera Medical Society
Health Officers Association of California
Health Care Without Harm
Healthy African American Families II
Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma
Kern County Asthma Coalition
Kern County Medical Society
Maternal Child Health Access
Medical Advocates for Healthy Air
Merced-Mariposa County Asthma Coalition
Mercy Hospitals of Bakersfield
National Physicians Alliance
Prevention Institute
Public Health Institute
Regional Asthma Management and Prevention
Physicians for Social Responsibility (Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Sacramento chapters)
Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society
San Francisco Asthma Task Force
San Francisco Medical Society
San Mateo County Medical Association
St. John's Well Child & Family Center


Lung Health Letters – An archive of letters from medical and health organizations led by the American Lung Association on legislation, regulations and other policies to reduce air pollution and fight climate change.

Meet Our Health Professionals Taking Action: a platform for health professionals to educate their patients and communities about climate change impacts to our air and our health, and opportunities to call for strong action.

For more information about the Health Professionals for Clean Air and Climate Action and how you can help, please contact Will Barrett at 916-585-7663 or or Jenny Bard at 707-775-6044,

For more information about our advocacy priorities, click here.

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