CA Carbon Auction Begins With New Pledge of Aid for Disadvantaged Areas

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Abel Habtegeorgis (510) 910 - 2672

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA – With the California Air Resources Board set to hold its first auction of carbon emissions permits under the state’s cap-and-trade program on Nov. 14, recently-signed legislation guarantees that a significant proportion of the proceeds will benefit low-income, highly polluted communities.

Environmental, public health and civil rights advocates as well as business associations joined together to support SB 535 (DeLeon) and AB 1532 (Perez), which provide a framework for ensuring that proceeds from the auction will help to reduce pollution and provide economic opportunities in communities with the greatest need. Both bills were signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Sept. 30.

“For the past 3 years, we've pushed for ways to make sure people who are most vulnerable to climate catastrophe are first in line to be protected from its most devastating effects,” said Jakada Imani of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, “As we see the results of climate change already hitting California's communities, this effort becomes more urgent than ever.”

AB 1532 establishes a public process and framework for allocating monies in the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, which will be created with revenues from the cap-and-trade program. It requires that monies in the Fund be used to achieve feasible, cost-effective reductions of greenhouse gas emissions in through investments that also maximize economic, environmental, and public health benefits.

SB 535 requires that 25 percent of the Fund go towards projects that would benefit areas disproportionately affected by pollution and suffering from high concentrations of unemployment, low levels of homeownership, high rent burden, and low levels of educational attainment.  In addition, at least 10 percent of the Fund must be allocated to projects located in disadvantaged communities for programs to reduce pollution and develop clean energy.

The Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Coalition for Clean Air, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Greenlining Institute, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Natural Resources Defense Council co-sponsored SB 535 and supported AB 1532.


The Ella Baker Center is named for an unsung hero of the civil rights movement who inspired and guided emerging leaders. We build on her legacy by giving people opportunities and skills to work together to strengthen our communities so that all of us can thrive.