Consumers Union Blog
by Kristin Retter
Earlier this month California Governor Jerry Brown released a revised state budget, and the Greenlining Institute has issued a press release praising the new funds available to support AB32 and SB 535 projects.
AB 32, The Global Warming Solutions Act, generates revenue from the sale of carbon permits through the cap-and-trade program, and SB 535 requires that 25% of those funds benefit the most heavily polluted and disadvantaged neighborhoods, with at least 10% supporting projects located within these communities. These funds have already started to make an impact on the people living in these neighborhoods by creating new jobs, improving transportation, and helping residents lower their utility bills.
The revised budget issues new funding, with at least $559 million in cap and trade funding now going to underserved communities. According to the Greenlining press release, some of the increased funding will support the following;
- Low-income energy programs– These programs help pay for better weatherization and the installation of solar panels for low-income households, which helps to reduce energy use and monthly energy bills.
- Urban forestry– Increasing and maintaining trees and other plants in an urban setting increases the air quality by helping to remove carbon from the air, increases the quality of life for residents, and actually cools the surface of the ground, which reduces the heat trapped in cities.
- Charge Ahead Initiative– This initiative helps to increase access to ride and vehicle sharing programs in underserved communities using low or zero emissions vehicles, and to helps replace high pollution vehicles with low or zero emissions vehicles.
- Affordable housing near public transit– This will help low-income families have access to transportation and be able to live near their schools and jobs, which will reduce air pollution and increase quality of life.
These initiatives are improving air quality and decreasing emissions to fight climate change while at the same time rectifying some of the ill effects of poverty by providing more options for low-income households.