Investing in Sustainable Agricultural Solutions to Climate Change:
Governor Brown signs AB 1532
Good news! On September 30, 2012, Governor Brown signed into law two important climate bills, Assembly Bill 1532 (authored by Assembly Speaker John Pérez) and Senate Bill 535 (authored by Senator Kevin De León). Together, they put in place a fair and transparent public process for investing public funds from California’s new greenhouse gas (GHG) cap-and-trade program.
Thanks to a coalition of sustainable agriculture organizations, farmers and environmental allies, sustainable farming and ranching practices that reduce GHG emissions and sequester carbon are among the eligible activities for funding. Future funding for farmers and ranchers to address climate change will make all the difference in supporting sustainable food and farming in California in the years to come.
CalCAN has been leading the effort to include sustainable agriculture in AB 1532, arguing that sustainable farming and ranching practices can provide climate benefits, as well as provide a host of other environmental and health benefits.
There is more work to be done to assure that these funds are allocated to the most effective and innovative sustainable agricultural practices. Join CalCAN in assuring that the state’s farmers and ranchers get the support they need to address climate change through research, technical assistance, financial incentives and farmland protection.
The Agriculture Climate Benefits Act (SB 237)
In 2011, Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis) introduced a bill that was sponsored by CalCAN, describing the important role that California agriculture can play in providing climate solutions and providing guidelines for the eligible uses of cap and trade funds that are allocated to agriculture — specifically for research and demonstration, technical assistance for agricultural producers and processors, and financial incentives for agricultural practices and technologies that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, support climate change adaptation and provide environmental and health co-benefits.
SB 237 passed out of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee with a 5-2 vote on April 4, 2011. It was held over in the Senate Appropriations Committee in mid-January 2012.
The Agriculture Climate Benefits Act, SB 237, authored by State Senator Lois Wolk, recognizes the need for agricultural solutions to climate change. SB 237 defines the eligible uses of funds designated to California’s agriculture sector from implementation of the state’s climate change law, including:
- Research and demonstration to examine the farming practices, systems and food processing that reduce GHG emissions, sequester atmospheric carbon and adapt to climate change.
- Technical assistance for producers and processors that communicates research findings into real opportunities for California agriculture to provide voluntary GHG reductions and adaptation activities.
- Incentives to overcome barriers to agricultural practices that mitigate and adapt to climate change while providing environmental and health co-benefits, including improved air and water quality, enhanced wildlife habitat and water conservation.