Personal Actions for Climate Change

This page last reviewed November 6, 2013

ARB Climate Change Program Logo Individual behavior will influence California’s overall effort to reduce greenhouse gases. Be a part of the solution and take action now to reduce your carbon footprint!

The greenhouse gas emission reductions required under Assembly Bill 32 (AB 32) cannot be realized without the active participation of the people of California.  While many of the measures outlined in the Scoping Plan must be taken by large sources of emissions, such as power plants and industrial facilities shifts in individual choices made through the voluntary commitment of millions of Californians like you will also play a major part in this important endeavor.

Thinking about fighting climate change and reducing your carbon footprint may be daunting at first but even small changes to the way you work, travel and play can lead to major results when combined with similar decisions made by your fellow Californians, who have embraced statewide programs that support positive change in home and business behavior.  For example, consider how separating household waste and recycling at home and work has become commonplace over the last twenty years.  Most of us do it without thinking now but it probably felt like a change to our routine at one point, maybe even not that long ago.

Individual Decisions

There are many simple decisions that you can make in your own life to help reduce GHG emissions.   You might choose to purchase a more efficient vehicle when it comes time to replace your current model, or look for the Energy Star label when purchasing new appliances.   Your family might opt to lower your thermostat to 68 degrees during the colder months and raise it to 78 degrees when it’s time to run the air conditioner.  When commuting to work, you might decide to ride your bike, take public transportation or form a carpool with some of your coworkers.

Maybe you’ll swap out your light bulbs for more efficient compact fluorescent lights, or make a habit of unplugging your electronics when you aren’t using them and washing more loads of laundry in cold water.   Once you start seeing for yourself how even minor lifestyle changes can help lower your household energy bills, you might then choose to make bigger household modifications like planting trees to shade and cool your home, using landscaping that requires less water, or even installing solar electric panels on your roof.  All of these decisions preserve our natural resources and protect our environment.

EcoDriving Program

On August 18, 2008, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger launched the EcoDriving program – a comprehensive effort to save consumers money at the gas pump and cut GHG emissions by reducing fuel use.  By following a set of easy-to-use best practices for driving and vehicle maintenance, a typical EcoDriver can improve mileage by approximately 15 percent.  One key EcoDriving strategy, reducing driving speeds, also provides safer roads for you and the people you care about.

Climate Generation Program

The Climate Generation Program is a project based learning competition for high school students throughout California. It is designed to engage students and teachers in hands-on climate action projects to reduce the carbon footprint of the school. By improving energy efficiency, reducing consumption, increasing recycling, and changing transportation behaviors, young people learn how simple actions, taken together, can create a climate of change. This program fosters a new generation of environmental advocates.

Take Action

For more information about how to reduce your personal carbon footprint, visit Cool California.   This web site provides a carbon footprint calculator and a “top ideas” list of ways to save energy at home.

Helpful Resources and Tips


For questions or comments, please contact Annalisa Schilla

preload