Investments in Climate Smart Agriculture Delayed

 

Budget Leaders To Act this Summer – Call Your State Reps NOW

California State Capitol Building. (Source: PeteBobb, WikiMedia)
California State Capitol Building. (Source: PeteBobb, WikiMedia)

This week the State Legislature sent the FY 2016-17 budget to Governor Brown without deciding how the state would spend billions in climate change investments. Among the programs waiting for a decision on funding are the Healthy Soils Initiative, the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP), the Dairy Methane Program and the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program. What gives?

The cap-and-trade program was created under California’s climate change law, AB 32. Cap-and-Trade limits greenhouse gas emissions from the biggest polluters in the state and requires that they hold ‘allowances’ in amounts equal to their GHG emissions. The cap on GHG emissions declines over time and so do the allowances that industry can hold. Regulated entities under the program must buy a portion of their allowances from state auctions.

The proceeds from those auctions are used by the state to fund activities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide multiple benefits to our communities, including improved air and water quality and increased resilience to a changing climate. CalCAN recently released a report on SWEEP, in which we explore how farmers are using those funds to conserve water and energy, thereby reducing GHG emissions.

In May, the auction for the Cap-and-Trade program raised only $10 million in proceeds—down considerably from the anticipated $500 million. While there are a lot of theories as to why the auction did not go well, the upshot is that some in the legislature are now wondering what to do next.

Budget leaders will take up the question of climate investments this summer.

CalCAN has joined with others in the environmental and conservation communities calling for climate investments now. California has billions in the bank that it can invest now to fund tangible projects that not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also make our communities healthier.

You can voice your support for investments in sustainable agriculture solutions to climate change by calling your Senator and Assembly member.

The message is simple: “I am calling to support climate investments in agriculture, including the Healthy Soils Initiative. Please don’t delay climate investments.” Give your name and town/city.

 

 

 

 

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