As a network of dozens of organizations across California, ClimatePlan’s work is both statewide and regional. Aside from working to affect state policy and agencies, ClimatePlan works with our on-the-ground partners in each region to ensure we’re informed on what’s happening locally by the advocates engaged in their own communities every day. While our audience is broader than any one region, we think it’s important to share with our network what we’re up to and what we’re noticing across the state.
Aside from being California’s state capital and workplace of the state government, Sacramento is also a city, county, and region with its own local context. While Sacramento’s community has long been engaged in efforts to address climate change, this blog will focus on a few current developments that ClimatePlan has been following.
A Call For Climate Action In Sacramento
The Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change (MCCC), a joint body between the cities of Sacramento and West Sacramento, was convened from 2018 to 2020 with the charge of identifying a path to reducing the region’s carbon emissions. The MCCC was made up of appointed Commissioners including Executive Director of ClimatePlan, Nailah Pope-Harden. Following the submission of the MCCC’s final report, Achieving Carbon Zero in Sacramento and West Sacramento by 2045, the City of Sacramento provided seed funding for the creation of an independent Environmental Justice Collaborative Governance Committee (EJCGC).
Since Fall of 2020, ClimatePlan has been coordinating and convening the Sacramento EJCGC as a space to discuss issues of environmental and climate justice, share information with the community about local climate initiatives, and give feedback to inform local climate planning and policy development. Members of the public can attend the EJCGC’s virtual meetings in 2023 on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 6 pm by registering at: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcudu2tpjgiHtP7xqVmV8Kg9oWwlDw5C5Vc
Institutionalizing Climate Action In Sacramento
While the MCCC report was completed, it was only a set of recommendations that remain to be implemented as local policy. In addition to convening the EJCGC, ClimatePlan remains engaged with our partners in the Sacramento region on following and advancing the MCCC recommendations in the City of Sacramento; this has included engaging on the development of the City’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP), Transportation Priorities Plan (TPP), and various ordinances such as on the topic of building electrification.
The 2022 Election & Transportation Funding
The release of the draft SB 150 report in June 2022 reiterated an alarming reality; rather than making progress on climate goals, increases in GHG emissions and VMT were observed in nearly every region. ClimatePlan decided to actively join the opposition to Sacramento County’s 2022 Ballot Measure A, which would have made this gap even worse.
The 2022 version of Measure A in Sacramento would have instituted a 40-year 0.5% sales tax to fund transportation projects in the region. Analysis by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) revealed that if Measure A were to pass, it could jeopardize the entire 6-county SACOG region’s ability to meet its GHG emissions reduction goal.
As the state oversight agency for SB 375, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) later sent a letter to the Sacramento Transportation Authority (STA) further warning about Measure A’s adoption. This CARB letter to STA reaffirmed the following matters of concern:
- SACOG’s analysis was correct, Measure A’s focus on funding highway-centered projects would lead to further increases to GHG emissions and VMT
- Measure A included projects that are not in SACOG’s 2020 Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) / Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS), would likely disqualify SACOG’s SCS from complying with SB 375, and thus would imperil the SACOG region’s ability to seek state funding opportunities
- “While often promoted as congestion relief, road expansions do not fix congestion. They induce vehicle travel, and hence more traffic…”
Measure A was defeated by a majority of Sacramento voters in the 2022 general election. But given the concerns raised by SACOG and CARB, why was it even on the ballot?
How Should Sacramento Fund Climate & Transportation?
With the failure of Measure A in the 2022 general election, ClimatePlan is engaged in conversations across Sacramento on how to move forward and successfully, and equitably fund climate and transportation in the region.
One space in which ClimatePlan is convening this conversation will be the Sacramento EJCGC’s monthly meetings every fourth Wednesday of the month. The next one is Wednesday, February 22 at 6:00pm. Members of the public are invited to attend and discuss, register here.