The State of California, buoyed by a $100 billion surplus, released its revised budget last Friday with big dollars for climate initiatives supporting clean water, electric vehicles and preparing for wildfire.
I’m personally excited by new investments in the next Climate Change Assessment, as well as dollars to help cities perform climate planning and to fund new climate justice collaboratives.
But not all of the administration’s spending makes sense. There’s funding for the Department of Food and Agriculture to create resilience centers in rural corners of the state – a good thing. But there’s no money for resilience centers in California’s cities, where 89% of the population lives. And the administration’s proposals on extreme heat are for marginal projects and fail to support priority cooling solutions badly needed in cities.
Here’s one action the administration could take that would go a long way to fixing the misplaced priorities on cooling solutions. Climate Resolve is sponsoring Assembly Bill 585, authored by Assemblymember Luz Rivas of Pacoima. If enacted, AB 585 would coordinate state action on extreme heat. (There are over 15 state agencies that work separately on heat.) We currently have over 40 endorsing organizations — and we invite you to support the bill yourself!
Another cool project — thanks to our friends at Resilient Cities Catalyst, Climate Resolve is launching a program to strengthen regulations on worker health and beef up enforcement of standards intended to protect workers from extreme heat and wildfire smoke. Stay tuned.
More good news: two of our urban cooling projects have cleared the most difficult hurdle of getting funding. The “cool neighborhood” pilot in Canoga Park was recently awarded construction funding by Caltrans. And the Merced Avenue Greenway project in South El Monte, a “living street” that combines urban cooling with stormwater capture and new bike lanes, has received funding from Measure W and Proposition 68.
Climate Resolve recently assisted Skid Row activists with determining where to place trees and shade structures to protect people in the most climate stressed neighborhood of our city. Climate Resolve analyzed data provided by JPL satellites to pinpoint exactly where surface temperatures are most extreme. Check out these amazing images.
This activism to support public health and climate resilience grew out of Climate Resolve’s Climateplans.LA program. Many thanks to our friends at Accelerate Climate Resilience for supporting this essential work.