Pew Praises Proposed Historic Climate Investment in California

Lawmakers give voters opportunity to support communities and natural resources affected by climate change

SACRAMENTO, CA—In a major step toward protecting California communities from the effects of climate change, Acting Governor Mike McGuire (D) signed legislation—SB 867—that will place a climate resilience bond on the Nov. 5 ballot.

If enacted by voters in November, the $10 billion bond would represent the largest voter-approved climate resilience investment in U.S. history. Additionally, the bond requires that at least 40% of investments benefit disadvantaged communities and vulnerable populations most at risk from extreme heat, wildfires, flooding, and polluted water.

Since 1980, California has experienced 46 of what climate experts call “extreme weather events”—extraordinary incidents related to temperature, precipitation, drought, or flooding—each of which caused at least $1 billion in damage, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

Polls consistently indicate that Californians want to protect their state’s natural resources and are willing to fund such protection.

Approval of the bond would lead to:

  • Increased access to safe drinking water and enhanced flood protection.
  • Improved wildfire prevention and management of the state’s forests to increase the forests’ resilience to drought, extreme heat, and other stressors.
  • Wetlands restoration, salmon reintroduction, and habitat connectivity improvements.
  • Programs to make communities more resilient to extreme heat events.
  • Protection and restoration of coastal and tidal habitats to minimize flooding, erosion, and runoff.
  • Incentives for farmers and ranchers to improve soil health and carbon sequestration.
  • The creation, expansion, and renovation of neighborhood parks, trails, and other outdoor recreation opportunities.

Holly Binns, Pacific region director of The Pew Charitable Trusts’ U.S. conservation project, issued this statement:

“The California climate bond is the product of a collaborative, thoughtful, and bold effort to protect the state’s residents and spectacular natural resources, with investments in disadvantaged communities and vulnerable populations that will need more protection from floods, fires, extreme heat, and rising seas in the coming years. If approved, this bond will fund improvements to clean water and clean energy and increase access to open spaces that benefit all Californians.

“The science and the economics clearly show that prompt climate investments will save Californians money and maximize the effectiveness of adaptation options intended to benefit people and nature. The Pew Charitable Trusts is proud to celebrate this important step forward with more than 180 environmental justice, sustainable agriculture, and conservation groups who support this proposed historic investment in California’s future.”

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