Clean car standards have helped cut total automobile air pollution in California by more than 85 percent since 1975, despite rapid growth in population and vehicle travel. However, many Californians are still exposed to some of the worst air pollution in the United States — contributing to high asthma rates and shortened life spans. Passenger cars and trucks produce nearly 2 million pounds of health-threatening air pollution statewide every day. To continue progress, state officials should update California’s vehicle emission standards and ensure that they remain strong and effective.
Leading California businesses are showing that consumer products don’t have to contain toxic chemicals, threaten public health, or produce large amounts of waste in order to work. These businesses are making California healthier and wealthier by designing products to be safe from the start, following the principles of green chemistry.
This report highlights 12 Golden State businesses or institutions that are identifying unnecessary hazards in their facilities, in their manufacturing processes and in the products they sell – and acting to eliminate them. In the process, these pioneers are demonstrating how a strong state-wide green chemistry policy can give birth to a new way of doing business – benefiting the people of California and setting an example for the nation as a whole.
Green chemistry is a design and business philosophy that seeks to make products safe from the start and prevent pollution at its source.
Over 40 percent of our energy – and 10 percent of all the energy used in the world – goes toward powering America’s buildings, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Today’s high-efficiency homes and buildings prove that we have the technology and skills to drastically improve the efficiency of our buildings while simultaneously improving their comfort and affordability. If we apply those lessons to all buildings, we can reduce overall building energy consumption 35 percent by 2030 and 50 percent by 2050.
The American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act, passed by the House this June and currently under consideration by the U.S. Senate, maps out a new energy future for the nation. Passing the ACES Act – even with the compromises made to secure passage in the House – would be a significant step toward a clean energy future for the United States and would represent a ground-breaking political achievement.
Transportation is responsible for more than two-thirds of our nation’s oil consumption and nearly a third of our carbon dioxide emissions. To make us more energy independent and reduce pollution, we need to build a transportation system that uses less oil, takes advantage of alternative fuels, and shifts as much of our travel as possible from transportation modes that consume a lot of energy to those that consume less.
Environment California Research and Policy Center is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.