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Need to Know

California Invests in Research to Reduce Global Warming Emissions

A Conversation with ReFED’s Interim Executive Director
The state has invested $17.1 million in cap-and-trade funds for clean technology development that will benefit vulnerable communities.

California’s Strategic Growth Council (SGC) approved funding for four groundbreaking research initiatives that will develop clean technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and advance equitable outcomes for vulnerable communities.

The research teams that were selected for funding will explore topics as varied as developing tools for resilient forest management, sustainable use of biomass, improving carbon sequestration on farmlands and advancing more efficient cooling technologies in low income and disadvantaged communities.

“While California leads the nation in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to combat the effects of climate change, impacts already are being felt—and they are disproportionately affecting our most vulnerable communities,” said California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird in a statement. “Research funded through this program will help develop solutions that reduce emissions while providing local economic and public health benefits.”

These investments will be made through the SGC’s Climate Change Research Program, which is funded by cap-and-trade auction proceeds. Established in legislation that was signed by California Gov. Jerry Brown in 2017, the Climate Change Research Program supports crosscutting research investments that support clean energy, build community resilience and advance an equitable transition toward a more sustainable California. The decision initiates the second round of funding under this program; the first of which was awarded in July 2018.

“The SGC research grants are designed to fill gaps in our knowledge about some of the most promising climate change solutions, and move them more quickly to fruition,” said Ken Alex, director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and SGC chair, in a statement.

“In addition to supporting the development of innovative new technologies and approaches to reduce global warming emissions, these awards help to build critical partnerships between researchers and the people on the ground advancing climate solutions,” said SGC’s Executive Director Louise Bedsworth in a statement. “SGC is proud to support the partnerships that are critical to solving the climate challenge.”

Chosen through a rigorous multi-phased selection process, research proposals must advance California’s climate goals, while also supporting equitable outcomes for low income and disadvantaged communities. Researchers are required to develop collaborative teams that include engagement with stakeholders through every phase of the research.

For example, the University of California (UC), Office of the President will partner with UC Berkeley, UC Merced, CSU East Bay and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on its sustainable land management research proposal, which also includes engagement with tribal nations and agricultural partners in all stages of the research process. For the first time ever, this research will combine different technologies that help capture carbon in soils to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

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