In a new report, the California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN) reviewed two incentives programs aimed at developing affordable housing and conserving ag lands. Funding for the programs has been drying up this year as cap-and-trade revenues continue to decline.
This means “California is at great risk of maintaining an unsustainable pattern of sprawl development,” the report finds. The group fears the demise of the climate-smart programs would “lock communities into increasing greenhouse gas emissions.”
CalCAN listed several recommendations for incentivizing infill development and protecting ag land, which they argued would speed up the state’s economic recovery as well.
The quarterly cap-and-trade auction held in November generated only slightly more than the last one, which hit a record low. State budget analysts are encouraging lawmakers to be cautious with their expectations for future auction revenues, given the growing uncertainty over the program.
The state has received nearly $600 million from the November auction. About $117 million will go to affordable housing programs, while $147 million goes to high-speed rail and the rest is for transit and safe drinking water projects. The report does not detail any dollars for climate-smart ag programs or ag equipment upgrades.
Through climate investment funding generated from earlier auctions, the Strategic Growth Council on Thursday approved more than $52 million in grants for acquiring land and easements for agricultural conservation and to support local governments in developing regional ag land conservation strategies.