California’s Climate Change and Clean Water Problem



Climate change is an issue that scientists warn will have dire and irreversible effects if people don’t work together to mitigate it. That harsh reality applies to the Earth’s inhabitants no matter where they live in the world. But, in California, there’s something making things even more complicated.

The Perceived Choice Between Clean Water and Climate Change Action

More than a million Californians do not have clean water for bathing or drinking. One of the ways state officials plan to deal with that issue is to dip into money reserved for fighting climate change. More specifically, the funds will come from the state's cap and trade system, which puts a limit on emissions.

Although some activists celebrated the move and assert that having access to clean water is a human right, others are understandably alarmed. They recognize that both clean water and climate change mitigation are essential things to focus on in the months and years ahead. But, they don’t believe in sacrificing one need to put more financial resources toward another.

California Has a Substantial Surplus

A budget report released at the start of 2019 showed that the state has a surplus of more than $21 billion. People understandably wonder, then, why the state's governor sought to impose billions worth of new taxes — in addition to funding water cleanup efforts via cap and trade revenues meant for climate change action.

However, this would not be the first time that the state would use those cap and trade funds for something other than to fight climate change. The cap and trade revenues go into the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF). Its goal is to reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels.

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