Where California goes, the country goes
We scoured the 2021 CA climate change bills so you don't have to.
What is this feeling?
Could it be... hope?
We have much to look forward to in the year ahead. On January 27, the Biden-Harris administration announced sweeping climate policy goals and actions at the federal level. Perhaps just as exciting, though, are the policies being proposed at the state and local levels.
During this month's coffee chat with Angelo Bellomo, he reminded us that on climate, wherever California goes, the country goes. He emphasized that we have a renewed opportunity to align the federal climate strategy with that of states, counties, and cities. So you're probably wondering: what should we expect? Well, we read through every bill that's been proposed so far in California for the 2021 legislative session, so you don't have to.
Below, you'll find a list of some of our favorites by issue area. Whatever your climate fight is, we hope you'll find a reason for hope among these bills. If you live in California, please reach out to your representatives and let them know you support these bills. And if you live elsewhere, perhaps these measures might spark some ideas that could help your own community to deal with the effects of climate change.
Improving community adaptation and resilience
This bill would require California's Strategic Growth Council to establish up to 12 regional climate change authorities to coordinate climate adaptation and mitigation activities in their regions. These authorities would align, support, and accelerate local and regional efforts to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change within their regions, and encourage sharing of best practices and coordination across regions.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
AB-33 and SB-30
Existing law requires all new public buildings in California to be models of energy efficiency. AB-33 would prohibit new public buildings to have natural gas connections and also prohibit public funding for the construction of new schools that have natural gas connections. SB-30 would prohibit the construction of any state facility connected to the natural gas grid. The Senate bill would also require the Department of General Services to develop a plan that will lead to the operational carbon-neutrality of all state-owned buildings by 2035.
This bill would require the Public Utilities Commission, Energy Commission, and State Air Resources Board to develop a strategy on how to achieve 100% renewable energy in California by 2045, and to do so in a cost-effective and environmentally beneficial manner.
Under this bill, the California Air Resources Board would establish and implement an Electric Bicycle Rebate Pilot Project from 2022-2028, which would provide rebates for purchases of electric bicycles.
This bill would require the Natural Resources Agency, to establish carbon sequestration goals for natural and working lands by July 2022. The State Air Resources Board would establish specified carbon dioxide removal targets for 2030 and beyond, and the Office of Planning and Research would establish and maintain a registry of carbon removal and sequestration projects in the state.
Mitigating the dangers of wildfires
An existing California law already requires anyone who owns, controls, operates, or maintains any electrical transmission or distribution line on mountains or forested land to maintain a clearance between the surrounding vegetation and any electricity-carrying conductors. AB-21 would impose a civil penalty for each violation of this law and for each acre burned due to fire resulting from a violation. Half of the penalties collected would be deposited into the Utility Accountability and Wildfire Prevention Fund, which will then be used to enhance forest management, fire planning, wildfire prevention and suppression, and fire-related enforcement activities.
This bill would require the California Air Resources Board to provide recommendations for achieving the maximum technologically feasible and cost-effective reductions of emissions of greenhouse gases and black carbon from wildfires. It also expresses the intent of the legislature to appropriate an amount from the GHG Reduction Fund for wildfire mitigation and prevention.
This bill would require cities to update their long-term general plans to include a retrofit strategy to reduce the risk of property loss and damage during wildfires. They'll need to include feasible implementation measures to protect lives and property from wildfire. Plans will be entered into a clearinghouse for climate adaptation information. SB-12 would also prevent development in very high fire risk areas.
Improving access to green spaces
This bill states the intent of the legislature to create subsequent laws that would improve access to nature for all people in California. It formalizes California lawmakers' strong support of measures to improve access to green spaces and represents an important step towards increasing recreational and educational opportunities especially for economically disadvantaged communities.
You can find details on these and other climate-related bills here. If you’re new to the world of advocacy (Welcome! We need all the help we can get!), here are some more links you may find useful: To find your California representative, click here. For tips on how to communicate your position effectively to your legislator and ask for their support, check out the California citizen’s guide to participation (with sample letter).
David Eisenman co-leading a project to address extreme heat in Los Angeles
David Eisenman, Deputy Director for Community Partnerships at C-Solutions, is part of a team of 10 UCLA professors that has earned a $956,000 award for a multidisciplinary project that will address the rapid increase in the number of extreme heat days in Los Angeles. Click on our blog below to learn more about this exciting project, called Heat Resilient L.A.
New study on air pollution exposure and COVID-19 outcomes
Our Co-Director Mike Jerrett is part of a team led by Mike Kleeman at UC Davis who recently won an award of $495,000 from the Health Effects Institute to study links between acute air pollution exposures, including those from wildfires, and COVID-19 severity. The team will also investigate whether long and short-term air pollution exposure affects long-term health effects from COVID-19. This award complements an existing award from the California Air Resources Board led by Jerrett, which is investigating the relationship between long-term air pollution exposure and COVID-19 severity as measured by hospital admission, intensive care unit intake, and death.
Event: Preparing for Even Wilder Wildfires
Professor Jerrett will be speaking at the UCLA Luskin Summit 2021. This session will explore the impacts of wildfires on health, low-income housing and small water systems, as well as highlight innovative tactics to increase resiliency, especially for populations that are most vulnerable to wildfire.
This session of the summit will be on February 4th, 2021 from 11AM-12PM PT. You can register here.
COFFEE CHAT: ANGELO BELLOMO
Lyn sits down with Angelo Bellomo, a leading expert in environmental and public health policy and a member of our Expert Advisory Board.
🔥 THE THIRD DEGREE 🔥
Lightning trivia for non-trivial times
President Biden called January 27 "climate day at the White House." On this day, he signed a series of executive orders to address climate change, including ordering a stop to new oil and gas drilling leases on federal lands.
What percentage of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions comes from fossil fuels extracted from federal lands?
Click here for the answer.
FROM THE BLOG
How We’re Tackling Rising Heat in Los Angeles Communities
The number of extreme heat days in Los Angeles is increasing each year. Heat Resilient L.A. is a new project that will track when and where people in the city are most vulnerable to the effects of extreme heat. The team, co-led by David Eisenman and comprised of experts in engineering, urban planning, public health and environmental law, will engage with communities to design new cooling structures and place them where they are most needed. Read more >>