In mid-August, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released the results of the fourth quarterly auction of allowances under the cap-and-trade program that launched early in 2013.
The auction raised almost $140 million, bringing the current total the state has accrued in the first year of the program to almost $400 million.
The auction revenue is intended to be invested in activities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Last year, with the passage of AB 1532, the legislature and Governor Brown authorized the creation of a Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and identified eligible expenditure categories. And in May, the administration released a three-year investment plan that provided more details on how to allocate the funds. Due in part to the advocacy of CalCAN and our allies, sustainable agriculture was included in both AB 1532 and the investment plan.
However, in June, citing fiscal prudence, Governor Brown prevailed with his proposal to loan the first $500 million to a rainy day fund rather than spend it on climate solutions. The loan will be paid back with interest, but the Governor has not indicated a time frame for the repayment.
In January, Governor Brown will bring forward his 2014/15 budget draft which presumably will include a proposal for when and how much of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund monies he proposes to allocate to climate protection activities. CalCAN continues to make the case for investments in sustainable agriculture. We recently provided CARB with detailed recommendations on ways agriculture can help California meet its GHG reductions targets.