The state of California released an annual report detailing the Climate Investments Program which has allocated nearly $10.5 billion and is expected to cut 76 million metric tons of emissions.
The April 12 report shows the program is investing in fire prevention, clean transportation, air pollution reduction and affordable housing, according to a state press release. To date, it has helped plant more than 170,000 trees in urban areas, funded more than 8,900 affordable housing units, expanded bus and rail services and additional projects.
“These dollars are delivering major economic, environmental, and public health benefits for Californians, including meaningful benefits to the most disadvantaged communities and low-income communities and households,” the report reads. “Programs are reducing greenhouse gas emissions by supporting incentives for zero-emission vehicles and equipment, increasing mobility through transit projects, diverting organic waste from landfills to composting, and more.”
The program is directing billions of dollars into nearly every sector of the economy across California, according to California Air Resources Board spokesperson Melanie Turner. This will support the state’s transition to a low-carbon and more equitable future, she said.
Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín said the city has directly benefited from the program and noted a $23 million grant from the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program which will go towards the Maudelle Miller Shirek Community development.
When completed, the Maudelle Miller Shirek Community development will offer 87 affordable housing units and provide a space for the headquarters of Healthy Black Families, a Black-advocacy nonprofit that supports social justice and equitable policies, Arreguín added.
“As we look to build more affordable housing, we must do this in a way that is environmentally conscientious,” Arreguín said in an email.
Councilmember Sophie Hahn said that she commends the governor and legislature for making the new funds available to the city.
Hahn added that she hopes the city can act swiftly to apply for new funding opportunities to achieve existing climate goals.
“Accelerating the fight against climate change is fundamental — especially for coastal cities like Berkeley on the frontlines of increasing threats from sea level rise and increased risk of wildfires,” Hahn said in an email.
Other benefits from the program include 721,000 acres of land conserved or restored, 4.8 million tons of waste diverted from landfills, 705 million gallons of avoided gas and diesel fuel use and 15 million trees planted as part of forest health projects, Turner added.
Reacting to the report, campus biometeorology professor Dennis Baldocchi said he supports the use of funds to help disadvantaged communities move towards green infrastructure systems.
“California is emitting about 400 million metric tons of CO2eq per year,” Baldocchi said in an email. “Economists and policy experts need to decide where it is best to spend the money.”