Greenhouse Gas-Reduction Investments to Benefit Disadvantaged Communities

Disadvantaged communities in California are specifically targeted for investment of proceeds from the State’s cap-and-trade program. These investments are aimed at improving public health, quality of life and economic opportunity in California’s most burdened communities at the same time they’re reducing pollution that causes climate change. 

Authorized by the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32), the cap-and-trade program is one of several strategies that California uses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. Funds received from the program are deposited into the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and appropriated by the Legislature. They must be used for programs that further reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

In 2012, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 535 (De León) directing that, in addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a quarter of the proceeds from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund must also go to projects that provide a benefit to disadvantaged communities. A minimum of 10 percent of the funds must be for projects located within those communities. The legislation gives the California Environmental Protection Agency responsibility for identifying those communities.  

In October 2014, following a series of public workshops to gather public input, CalEPA released its list of disadvantaged communities for the purpose of SB 535. To inform its decision, CalEPA relied on the California Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool (CalEnviroScreen), a tool that assesses all census tracts in California to identify the areas disproportionately burdened by and vulnerable to multiple sources of pollution.

Greenhouse Gas Reduction Funds are administered by state and local agencies for a variety of greenhouse-gas cutting programs, including energy efficiency, public transit, low-carbon transportation and affordable housing. Guidelines written by the Air Resources Board help these agencies develop programs that meet statutory requirements for reducing emissions while maximizing the benefits to disadvantaged communities.

News Release: CalEPA Identifies Communities Targeted for Cap-and-Trade Investments (PDF) Español (PDF)

SB 535 Identification of Disadvantaged Communities

SB 535 Workshops and Public Comments

SB 535 Interactive Maps

SB 535 Implementation Resources

Share This