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Since passage of AB 32, The Global Warming Solutions Act (2006), communities throughout California have been identified as a key partner in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Many local governments have begun to address community and municipal greenhouse gas emissions by updating their general plans to include goals, policies, and programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while other have taken a more focused approach and prepared a Climate Action Plan (CAP) or sustainability plan.
CAPs are comprehensive roadmaps that outline the specific municipal operations activities and communitywide efforts that a local government will undertake to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. CAPs build upon the information gathered by greenhouse gas inventories and generally focus on those activities that can achieve the relatively greatest emission reductions in the most cost effective manner. CAPs typically focus on quantifying existing and projected community-wide greenhouse gas emissions; establishing greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets; identifying and analyzing future greenhouse gas emissions; identifying specific, enforceable measures that will achieve the emissions targets; and establishing a mechanism to monitor the plan's progress.