Category Archive: climate change

  1. The Cap-and-Trade Spigot Opens

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    While the efficacy of California’s cap-and-trade program in reducing the state’s overall greenhouse gas emissions continues to be a subject of debate, the program’s ability to generate revenue (almost $1 billion through 2014) has been impressive. And as the pot of cap-and-trade revenue grows, the state is seeing more competing proposals for funding. Over the past month or so, proceeds from the auction of emissions permits have been allocated to a host of new programs for some innovative projects. In addition, the state’s cap-and-trade program is focusing resources to serve more low-income and disadvantaged communities. Passed in 2012, SB 535 requires allocating a minimum of 25 percent of the state’s cap-and-trade revenues to projects that benefit disadvantaged communities; a minimum of ten percent of the proceeds must be used for projects located in disadvantaged communities. With this mandate in mind, we look at a few of the more innovative programs that were awarded funding to help improve our most vulnerable communities. (more…)

  2. The Drought is About More Than Just Water

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    While California’s record drought has led to statewide reductions and local executive directives in order to conserve water, there may be an even larger, less-discussed consequence. The drought causing the state to sink. The Center for Investigative Reporting revealed that California has experienced its worst sinking in at least 50 years. The Center found that widespread subsidence has the potential to destroy infrastructure across the state, which could cost well over a billion dollars to fix. (more…)

  3. Promising Practices in Resilience Planning

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    As it becomes apparent that extreme weather events are becoming the new normal, planning to ensure that our communities are prepared to weather a natural disaster is imperative. Faced with a warming planet, limited resources, and a growing global population, governments large and small are rethinking their communities. And much of this new thinking is being done under the banner of building local resilience. But as the term resilience becomes as amorphous as “sustainability,” it’s helpful to focus on the most promising practices in this burgeoning field. As we look at best practices, it becomes clear that the most promising strategies are informed by local knowledge and context, emphasize equity and inclusivity, and incorporate disaster mitigation techniques that are ecologically appropriate. (more…)

  4. New Greenhouse Gas Inventory Standard for Cities

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    During last month’s UN Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru the World Resources Institute (WRI), C40 Cities Climate Change Leadership Group (C40), and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) launched a new standardized methodology for cities to track their greenhouse gas emissions, the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC). (more…)

  5. CalEnviroScreen Update

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    CalEnviroScreen 2.0 Helps Direct Cap-and-Trade Investments towards Greenhouse Gas Reduction in Disadvantaged Communities

    The 2014-15 state budget calls for approximately $832 million of cap-and-trade proceeds for programs that support energy efficiency, public transit, affordable housing and greenhouse gas reduction. At least a quarter of these proceeds will go towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions in disadvantaged communities pursuant to SB 585 (De Leon). To identify disadvantaged communities that are vulnerable to the effects of pollution, the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) developed the Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool (CalEnviroScreen) Tool. (more…)

  6. The Road to Environmental Equity

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    In less than six months, California’s cap-and-trade program will expand to include suppliers of natural gas and motor fuels, requiring the producers of these greenhouse gas-emitting fuels to pay for the privilege of polluting our atmosphere. This will likely result in a modest uptick in gasoline prices across the state, which has major oil companies  (and some lawmakers) crying foul about the equity implications of higher costs that will be passed on to consumers. But is there any merit to the argument that cap-and-trade is bad for low-income drivers? (more…)

  7. Submerged Cities

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    “A picture is worth a thousand words” –  or so the adage goes. Many who watched Al Gore’s PowerPoint presentation in “An Inconvenient Truth” remember the aerial simulations showing the rising seas engulfing major metropolitan areas, including Shanghai and Florida. Now the artist and researcher Nickolay Lamm, using mapping data provided by Climate Central, has created stunning images of iconic locations after 12 feet of sea level rise from a bird’s eye view. You decide if the adage applies.