Failing the Climate Justice Test

An analysis of California’s projected climate resilience funding and its effects on Californians by region, race, and gender

37

Key Findings
  • With a focus on traditional infrastructure and no funding for public health or other more gender-balanced occupations, 92% of the jobs potentially created will likely go to men.
  • The North Coast region is projected to receive 13 times more per capita than the Los Angeles region and nearly 8 times more than the Sacramento Valley region.
  • That translates into a gaping gender and racial gap in funding. The North Coast region is 71% white and disproportionately male. The southern California counties in the Los Angeles region are 67% BIPOC and disproportionately female. The Sacramento Valley is the most female region in the state.
  • 45% of Californians live in the Los Angeles region, but only 21% of funds are estimated to be invested there.
  • Increasing funds to address extreme heat and investing in public health and urban cooling solutions would make the climate resilience funding more equitable by region, race, and gender.
Information:
California Climate Resilience Funding
AB-1500 & SB-45

June 2021

The final California state budget included $3.7 billion for climate resilience. Specifically how the dollars will be spent is still under negotiation. At this pivotal moment of unprecedented budget surplus, California could invest in equitable climate action or take a wrong turn.

In negotiations between the Governor’s office and the legislature, the legislature drew their climate priorities from bills considered this session: AB-1500 and SB-45. If these bills indeed become the blueprint for climate resilience, the prospect for an equitable climate policy for California is dim.

Failing the Climate Justice Test, a report by the Gender Equity Policy Institute, finds that the proposed investments would be distributed to Californians in a radically unbalanced, unfair, and unequal way.

The proposed climate resilience funding leaves women & communities of color in California’s urban areas behind, while benefiting disproportionately white, male, rural regions.

The whitest and most male regions of California are projected to receive a windfall of investment far out of proportion to their share of the state population. At the same time, the southern California counties in the Los Angeles region, home to half of all Black and Latino Californians and nearly half of all women in California, are projected to receive a stunningly small proportion of funding. 92% of the jobs potentially created by these bills’ investments will go to men.

By nearly any measure, the investments fail the climate justice test. They fail the regional equity test. They fail the racial justice test. And they receive a failing score of 37% on the Gender Equity Policy Institute’s gender equity scale.

California has been a pioneer in climate action, innovating equitable policies to tackle the wide-ranging climate crisis. But if current proposals become the blueprint for the state’s climate resilience policy, then the needs of the many millions of Californians who are most vulnerable to climate impacts will go unmet.