Calling on Governor Brown to Invest Cap-and-Trade Funds in Real Climate Solutions

jerry_brownCalCAN is one of over 90 stakeholder groups who signed an open letter to Gov. Brown recommending how cap-and-trade auction proceeds should be addressed in the upcoming January 2014 draft budget. The signers call on the Governor to do three things: abstain from loaning future auction proceeds to the General Fund, develop a detailed plan for spending the auction revenue on climate protection activities, and reinvest the money already loaned to the General Fund back into climate protection activities.

Under California’s cap-and-trade program launched in early 2013, the state has collected over $400 million in revenue from quarterly auctions of greenhouse gas allowances in the industrial sector. Despite the successful passage of AB 1532 last year, which laid out a plan for the investment of these funds in climate solutions that included sustainable agriculture, Gov. Brown decided in June to instead loan the first $500 million of auction proceeds to a rainy day reserve pool in the state’s General Fund.

The governor’s failure to invest the funds in climate protection activities contradicts numerous public statements of concern over the impacts and seriousness of climate change. Most recently, he signed onto an agreement with the leaders of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia that aligned the western states in their commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote clean energy.

Despite these pointed goals, Gov. Brown has delayed deploying a powerful tool for putting his stated policy agenda into practice by loaning the cap-and-trade revenue to a rainy-day fund.

The extensive list of organizations signed on to the letter to the Governor illustrates the diversity of stakeholder constituents dedicated to redirecting auction proceeds back to their intended purpose. In addition to CalCAN representing the agriculture sector, there is ample representation of transportation, housing, forestry, and environmental justice interests. Furthermore, citizens of the state agree: according to Climate Change in the California Mind, 60% of Californians think the governor, state legislature, and local government officials need to do more to support climate solutions.

What’s next? The authors of the above letter state their interest in helping Gov. Brown develop a more detailed blueprint for how the auction funds would be used in FY 2014-15, and CalCAN will continue to advocate that a portion of the revenue be invested in sustainable agriculture solutions to climate change. We urge Gov. Brown to make good on his word and take tangible steps towards establishing the state of California as a true national leader in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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