Wood bill aims to boost climate change funds


North Coast Assemblyman Jim Wood has introduced a bill that would dedicate 20 percent of the state’s carbon cap-and-trade program revenue to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Our natural and working lands play a vital role in stabilizing our climate,” Wood (D-Healdsburg) said in a Tuesday statement. “Investing in restoring and protecting these natural systems, we increase our ability to fight climate change and also promote sustainable rural economies. These are among the most cost-effective investments we can make to meet our climate goals.”

After California passed the Global Warming Solutions Act in 2006, the state Air Resources Board was directed to decrease the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 — or by about 15 percent. The board is seeking to achieve this goal by establishing caps for greenhouse gas emissions, with the cap declining 3 percent annually between 2013 and 2020. A carbon market was created by the state in 2013 in which power plants, industrial plants and fuel distributors are able to buy or sell their carbon emission allowances.

The goal of this cap-and-trade program is to spur entities with high greenhouse gas emissions to invest in clean energy technologies lest they pay a fee for exceeding their cap or have to purchase a higher carbon emission allowance. Fees and fines from these auctions are placed into the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.

Wood’s Climate Adaptation and Resilience Based on Nature Act, or CARBON Act, would set aside 20 percent of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund into a new account within the fund. The Legislature would then be allowed to distribute these funds strictly for programs that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance carbon sequestration or make natural ecosystems more resilient to climate change.

The CARBON Act, aka AB 1433, was referred to the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on Monday and is expected to be heard on March 21, according to the committee’s website at antr.assembly.ca.gov/.

Will Houston can be reached at 707-441-0504.