Mitigation and Adaptation

Government programs investing in ways to reduce greenhouse gases (mitigation) or to make the investments needed to adapt to the changes we are seeing and will see (adaptation) is one of the uses of revenue.  In this way we use the money to compound the benefit; we attack the problem of climate change using a price on carbon to encourage the market to work to reduce carbon emissions, and at the same time invest that money in changes needed to move toward the new economy.

Two examples of this approach are California and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in the northeastern U.S.

California Example

Nine key focus areas were identified in the May 2014 scoping plan update: energy, transportation, agriculture, water, waste management, natural and working lands, short-lived climate pollutants, green buildings, and the cap-and-trade program.  Total funding to date is $902 million, and as revenues increase, this number will rise.

The several programs are currently administered under the auspices of 12 agencies or departments as shown on their website.  The agencies and their current programs are summarized below.  Funding to date is shown in parentheses.

Transportation and Sustainable Communities Funding

  • High Speed Rail Authority (US$250 million):  high speed rail
  • California State Transportation Agency (US$25 million): transit and intercity rail capital program
  • Department of Transportation (Caltrans) (US$25 million): low carbon transit operations program
  • Strategic Growth Council (US$130 million):  affordable housing and sustainable communities (AHSC) program, sustainable agriculture land conservation (SALC) program ARB GHG quantification methodology for SGC AHSC program

Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Funding

  • Community Services and Development (US$75 million): low-income weatherization program (LIWP)
  • California Energy Commission (US$20 million): energy efficiency in public buildings
  • Department of Food and Agriculture (US$25 million): agricultural energy and operational efficiency (dairy digesters), state water efficiency and enhancement
  • Department of Water Resources (US$30 million): water action plan — water-energy efficiency

Natural Resources and Waste Diversion Funding

  • Department of Fish and Wildlife (US$25 million): wetlands and watershed restoration
  • Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (US$42 million): forest health restoration and reforestation, urban and community forestry program GGRF grants
  • Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (US$25 million): waste diversion (organics composting and anaerobic digestion, increased recycling materials manufacturing, organic and recycling project loans)

RGGI Example

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a cooperative effort among the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont to cap and reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector.  The 2014 RGGI cap is 91 million short tons, which then declines 2.5 percent each year from 2015 to 2020.

Each participating state develops its own plan for investing revenues, but overall proceeds are allocated as follows:

  •  52 percent to improve energy efficiency
  • 11 percent to accelerate deployment of renewable energy technologies
  • 14 percent to provide energy bill payment assistance, including assistance to low-income ratepayers
  • 1 percent for a wide variety of greenhouse gas reduction programs, including programs to promote the development of carbon emission abatement technologies, efforts to reduce vehicle miles traveled, and programs to increase carbon sequestration.