featured graphic for California State Legislative Analyst's Office

The 2020-21 Budget: Climate change proposals

The Legislative Analyst’s Office has just published the following report:

The 2020-21 Budget: Climate Change Proposals

This report assesses the Governor’s major 2020-21 budget proposals related to climate change. The four proposals we evaluate are the Governor’s (1) cap-and-trade expenditure plan ($965 million), (2) expanded climate adaptation research and technical assistance activities ($25 million), (3) new Climate Catalyst loan fund ($250 million), and (4) climate bond ($4.75 billion).

Climate Package Should Reflect Legislative Priorities. Overall, we find that the Governor’s approach includes some positive steps intended to help reduce climate change risks, including additional focus on adaptation activities. In many cases, however, the Legislature could consider modifications to the proposals that might better reflect its priorities and achieve its climate goals more effectively. In one case—the proposed Climate Catalyst loan fund—we find that the administration has not provided adequate justification to merit adoption.

Key Issues to Consider When Designing Climate Package. We urge the Legislature to think broadly about its priorities and the role of its various funding sources—as well as nonfinancial tools, such as regulatory programs—in achieving its climate goals. Some of the key considerations when developing an overall approach include:

  • Weighing Climate Change Activities Against Other Legislative Priorities. Is the overall spending amount consistent with legislative priorities, considering the potential need and the wide variety of other potential uses of the funds?
  • Relative Emphasis on Climate Adaptation Versus Mitigation. How does the Legislature want to prioritize funding for adaptation versus mitigation? As part of that evaluation, the Legislature might want to consider the existing levels of spending for each type of activity, as well as the relative merits of relying on funding to achieve these goals versus other strategies, such as regulations.
  • Selecting Programs Likely to Achieve Goals Effectively. How should funds be allocated in order to most effectively achieve the Legislature’s climate goals? Programs that receive funding should (1) have clearly defined goals and objectives, (2) be well coordinated across different government entities, (3) address clear market failures and complement regulatory programs, and (4) have effective strategies and resources for evaluating future outcomes.

This report is available using the following link: https://lao.ca.gov/Publications/Report/4155?utm_source=laowww&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=4155

This article was released by the Legislative Analyst’s Office.