Planting Seeds - Food & Farming News from CDFA

Governor Brown takes action to increase zero-emission vehicles, fund new climate investments

Taking action to further California’s climate leadership, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed an executive order to boost the supply of zero-emission vehicles and charging and refueling stations in California. The Governor also detailed the new plan for investing $1.25 billion in cap-and-trade auction proceeds to reduce carbon pollution and improve public health and the environment.

“This executive order aims to curb carbon pollution from cars and trucks and boost the number of zero-emission vehicles driven in California,” said Governor Brown. “In addition, the cap-and-trade investments will, in varying degrees, reduce California’s carbon footprint and improve the quality of life for all.”

Climate Smart Agriculture is a significant component of the cap-and-trade plan  an integrated approach to achieving GHG reductions while also ensuring food security in the face of climate change. This strategy is defined by three main pillars: (1) sustainably increasing farm productivity and incomes, (2) adapting and building resilience to climate change, and (3) reducing and removing GHG emissions, where possible.  The Cap and Trade Expenditure Plan supports these efforts through the following proposals, including CDFA programs housed in the agency’s Office of Environmental Farming and Innovation:

  • Agricultural Diesel Engine Replacement and Upgrades—$102 million for the Air Board to provide incentives for farmers and agricultural businesses to replace existing diesel, agricultural vehicles and equipment with the cleanest available diesel or advanced technologies. Emissions from agricultural equipment are a significant source of air pollution, especially in the San Joaquin Valley, and reducing these emissions is critical for meeting federal ozone and particulate matter air quality standards.
  • Agricultural Energy Efficiency Program—$34 million for the Energy Commission to reduce energy costs, increase efficiency, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the food processing sector.  Funded technologies will be reliable, have potential for broad sector adoption and help contribute to meeting the state’s energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction goals.
  • Healthy Soils Program—$5 million for the Department of Food and Agriculture to provide financial incentives to farmers to implement conservation agriculture management practices that sequester carbon, reduce atmospheric GHGs, and improve soil health. The program is the first in the world to directly relate agricultural management practices to quantitative GHG reductions and promote the development of healthy soils on California’s farmlands and ranchlands.  The Budget also includes an additional $9 million from the California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoors Access for All Fund (SB 5), for a total of $14 million for this program.
  • Renewable Energy Program—$4 million for the Energy Commission to provide grants for the installation of cost-effective on-site renewable energy for agricultural operations located in disadvantaged communities.

Short-lived Climate Pollutants

The warming effect of short-lived climate pollutants, such as methane, fluorinated gases and black carbon, can be significantly greater than that of carbon dioxide. Reducing these emissions can have an immediate beneficial impact on both climate change and public health. Chapter 523, Statutes of 2014, included a number of requirements for addressing dairy and livestock sector methane emissions and landfill methane emissions via diversion of organic material from the waste stream.  The Cap and Trade Expenditure Plan includes the following proposals in support of these efforts:

  • Methane Reduction—$99 million for the Department of Food and Agriculture’s Dairy Digester Research and Development Program and Alternative Manure Management Program to reduce methane emissions. Methane is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas compared to carbon dioxide. The Dairy Digester Research and Development Program offers grants to dairies to capture methane to be used for transportation fuels and clean energy production. The Alternative Manure Management Program provides financial incentives to dairy farms to implement non-digester manure management programs to reduce methane emissions.
  • Waste Diversion—$20 million for the Department of Resources, Recycling and Recovery to provide financial incentives for infrastructure facilities that divert waste from landfills, which will reduce methane emissions. Projects include composting, anaerobic digestion, and fiber, plastic, and glass recycling facilities.


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