Newsom Sets Aside $15 Billion for Climate Change Prevention

Image: National Interagency Fire Center via Wikimedia Commons

By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer

Governor Gavin Newsom of California signed a $15 billion package to fund climate change and drought mitigation strategies. The new legislation consists of 24 bills that focus on climate and clean energy efforts, droughts, and wildfire preparedness. 

 

Why this Matters: This is the largest climate funding package in California’s history, and it arrives during a devastating season of wildfire and drought. Last year’s fire season was the worst year on record for the state and this year is on track to be even worse. Meanwhile, the drought afflicting the Southwest is the most extreme on record, with rain at the lowest 20-month level documented since 1895, according to a US government report released Tuesday. In fact, two of the nation’s largest man-made reservoirs, both in California, are at all time lows, threatening drinking water and power for millions. 

 

As Reuters put it, these unrelenting droughts will likely continue “until stringent climate mitigation is pursued and regional warming trends are reversed.” This funding package is an important step in addressing the state’s climate crisis.

 

Where’s the Money Going?

The largest portion of the money — $5.2 billion — will be allotted to emergency drought assistance and growing California’s water infrastructure. Another $3.7 billion will go to projects aimed to mitigate extreme heat and tackle the threat of rising sea levels, while $1.5 billion will go to wildfire prevention. 

“We feel a deep sense of responsibility here in the state of California because of the smash-mouth realities of climate change,” Newsom said, announcing the project on Thursday. “Not just the issues of the acuity and frequency and duration of these wildfires, but also what’s happening with this mega-drought over the entire West Coast of the United States.”

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