Many Californians are unfairly burdened by harmful air quality and chronic respiratory illness because of where they live. The climate crisis threatens to saddle these neighborhoods with even worse air pollution and additional burdens, such as extreme weather conditions and job loss. The majority of the 4.6 million Californians below the federal poverty level live in neighborhoods facing these threats.
Global Warming Solutions Act
In 2006, California passed AB 32—The Global Warming Solutions Act—which requires the state to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. In adopting AB 32, California made a commitment to ensure that such communities are protected from, and strengthened by, the state’s efforts to tackle climate crisis.
Protecting burdened communities
Advocating the responsible implementation of AB 32, CCA urged the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to include language aimed at protecting low-income, minority communities who have borne the brunt of the climate crisis. We proposed an innovative, three-pronged approach to a cap-and-trade program that would protect all Californians and strengthen all neighborhoods.
Adopt a policy that identifies California communities already saddled with the unfair burden of living in highly polluted neighborhoods—fostering future policies that not only protect them from an additional burden, but also strengthen by providing tools for responding to climate change
Create a Community Benefits Fund, directing a portion of funds generated from implementation of AB 32—by a market-based approach such as a cap-and-trade program—to provide adaptation programs for these communities
Adopt a policy that limits the additional pollution sources that can be relocated into these highly polluted communities
In 2008, California once again demonstrated bold leadership in addressing climate change by adopting some critical clean air protections developed and advocated by CCA. The plan directs ARB to identify the most polluted California communities and reaffirms the need to protect every Californian—regardless of zip code—by limiting the relocation of additional pollution sources to their neighborhoods.
CCA developed the concept of a Community Benefits Fund that would direct a portion of the revenues generated through AB 32 implementation to help California communities least able to confront the expected impacts of the climate crisis. We co-sponsored AB 1405, a bill designed to create such a fund. Though it successfully passed through the legislature, the bill was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2010.
In February 2011, the concept was reintroduced via SB 535, which was written by Senator Kevin De León and co-sponsored by CCA. The bill’s “Healthy Neighborhood Fund” would ensure that AB 32 revenues generated from the sale of market-based compliance mechanisms be directed toward air, water and other environmental quality projects in low-income neighborhoods.
Be a part of the Coalition that works for all Californians' right to breathe clean air!