Following the release of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report on the critical actions needed to combat the climate crisis and how much time we have left to avert disaster, California revealed this week an annual report demonstrating that the California Climate Investments program continues to lead the way to a low-carbon and more equitable future – with more than $2.1 billion in greenhouse gas-reducing projects being implemented in 2021 alone. To date, $18.3 billion has been budgeted for the statewide initiative that uses Cap-and-Trade money to reduce GHG emissions, grow the economy, and improve public health, with nearly $10.5 billion in projects completed.
More than 75,000 new California Climate Investments projects were launched between December 2020 and November 2021, offering major environmental, economic, and public health benefits across the state. The program continues to distribute a considerable amount of cash to disadvantaged and low-income communities and households, referred to as priority populations. More than $1 billion in financing will be devoted to projects benefiting target populations by 2021. Almost $5.2 billion has been invested in these areas to date, accounting for more than half of all project investments.
“California continues to lead the way in confronting the sources of emissions that are driving the climate crisis, while bolstering resilience in our most vulnerable communities,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “These investments are reducing emissions across our state with projects that provide incentives for zero-emission vehicles and equipment, increase mobility through transit, build resilience to wildfires, and much more. We’re committed to ensuring that the communities most burdened by air pollution share in these benefits, with cleaner transportation options, cleaner air, increased energy efficiency, and more livable communities.”
California Climate Investments projects that begin in 2021 will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by about 10 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent over their lifespan, which is equivalent to taking approximately a million cars off the road for a year. These findings, as well as others, are described in the most recent California Climate Investments Annual Report on the use of auction profits from the state’s Cap-and-Trade Program.
Since the first California Climate Investments appropriations were made in 2014, more than 560,000 projects have been funded, with projects implemented to date expected to reduce GHG emissions by nearly 76 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent over project lifetimes, not including an additional 102 million metric tons expected from the first 50 years of the High-Speed Rail Project’s operating life.
Investments in fire protection, affordable housing, sustainable transportation, air pollution reduction, and other programs assist Californians across the state. To date, California Climate Investments projects have assisted in the planting of over 170,000 trees in urban areas, funded over 8,900 affordable housing units, and 850 transit projects that expand or add bus and rail service, as well as conserved or restored over 720,000 acres of land across the state. Projects have reduced fossil fuel usage in vehicles, trucks, and off-road equipment by over 700 million gallons, and approximately 420,000 vouchers for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle purchases have been distributed statewide.