California enacts $15B climate package to battle wildfires, drought
California – The governor of California signed a $15 billion climate package on September 23 that includes investments for building wildfire and forest resilience, supporting immediate drought response and long-term water resilience, and protecting communities from climate risks such as extreme heat and sea level rise.
The $5.2 Billion Water and Drought Resilience Package invests $5.2 billion over three years to support immediate drought response and long-term water resilience, including funding for emergency drought relief projects to secure and expand water supplies. In addition, it will support drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, with a focus on small and disadvantaged communities, and promote Sustainable Groundwater Management Act implementation.
Supporting California’s nation-leading climate agenda with a $3.9 billion investment, the California Comeback Plan prioritizes the state’s Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) goals and leads the transition to ZEVs on a global scale. The package includes funding to put 1,000 zero-emission drayage trucks, 1,000 zero-emission school buses and 1,000 transit buses, and the necessary infrastructure, on California roads – supporting projects that benefit disadvantaged communities.
Focusing on vulnerable front-line communities, the $3.7 Billion Climate Resilience Package includes $3.7 billion over three years to build resilience against the state’s multi-faceted climate risks, including extreme heat and sea level rise. Investments to address the impacts of extreme heat include urban greening projects, grants to support community resilience centers, and projects that reduce the urban heat island effect, and funding to advance the Extreme Heat Framework as part of the state’s Climate Adaptation Strategy.
A $1.5 billion package supporting a comprehensive forest and wildfire resilience strategy statewide is the largest such investment in California history. Building on a $536 million early action package in April ahead of peak fire season, an additional $988 million in 2021-22 will fund projects to reduce wildfire risk and improve the health of forests and wildlands. This includes investments for community hardening in fire-vulnerable areas, strategic fuel breaks and fuel reduction projects, approaches to restore landscapes and create resilient wildlands and a framework to expand the wood products market, supporting sustainable local economies.
Amid climate-driven drought and extreme heat challenges, California is committing $1.1 billion over two years to support sustainable agriculture practices and create a resilient and equitable food system. These efforts include investments to promote healthy soil management, support for livestock methane reduction efforts, funding for the replacement of agricultural equipment to reduce emissions and technical assistance and incentives for the development of farm conservation management plans.
The package also includes $270 million to support a circular economy that advances sustainability and helps reduce short-lived climate pollutants from the waste sector, and $150 million that will support urban waterfront parks, with a focus on underserved communities.