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


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 substantial 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.
California Climate Resilience Funding

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 has an opportunity to make critical investments in equitable climate action.

In negotiations between the Governor’s office and the legislature, the latter drew their climate priorities from bills considered and tabled this session: AB-1500 and SB-45.

The Gender Equity Policy Institute conducted an analysis of the investments projected by these two measures to assess how they would likely be distributed by region, race, and gender. The Institute found that the benefits would be distributed in an unbalanced and unequal way.

In Failing the Climate Justice Test, we detail and document how this blueprint for 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 funds 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 disproportionately small proportion of funding. Analysis of occupational data indicates that 92% of the jobs potentially created by these investments will go to men.

By nearly any objective 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 intersectional 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.