A Vote for Climate Resilience in November, If We Act Now

sf skyline with bay bridge

What if there was one small but meaningful act you could take that would help create a climate resilient Bay Area? Well, depending on what happens in Sacramento this month, there could be. The state legislature is considering whether to put a bond measure on this November’s ballot to invest in critical climate adaptation and emission reduction strategies. Save The Bay has been working to support this effort because the proposed bond provides our best opportunity to protect vulnerable communities from climate risks, invest in nature-based solutions, and meet broad conservation goals across the state. But getting it on the ballot is not guaranteed.

California continues to be a leader on climate policy, adopting ambitious emission reduction targets, committing to conserve 30% of the state’s land and waters by 2030, and developing a variety of strategies to address climate challenges (like the Ocean Protection Council’s recently updated sea level rise guidance). Implementing these policies requires significant funding from the state and federal governments. While we’ve seen historic investment in climate resilience in the past few years, this year California faces a daunting budget deficit. Governor Newsom and the state legislature are currently negotiating the state budget, but addressing the deficit will require cuts to many climate programs – particularly those that help us prepare for sea level rise.

The Bay Area is expected to experience severe impacts from rising tides in the coming years. That’s why we have worked to support efforts to coordinate strong regional strategies to protect communities near the shoreline and along creeks and rivers where flood risk is the greatest. (You can read more about our sea level rise strategy here). A key element is utilizing nature-based solutions like restored tidal marshes because they provide a buffer between the Bay’s tides and our homes and businesses (along with carbon sequestration and habitat benefits). Unfortunately, restoring a tidal marsh is not an inexpensive undertaking, and state funding is needed to make these projects happen.

The State Coastal Conservancy provides a significant amount of financial support for shoreline restoration and sea level rise resilience projects here in the Bay Area. That’s why we were alarmed that the budget proposals include a cut of nearly $400 million from the Conservancy’s budget. This is where the proposed climate bond can help fill in the budgetary gaps.

Last month, staff from Save The Bay’s policy team along with colleagues from Greenbelt Alliance and SPUR went to Sacramento to advocate in favor of a climate bond with significant funding for the Coastal Conservancy. We met with representatives from 11 Assembly offices, including Assemblymembers Bonta, Wilson, and Bauer-Kahan. Our message was simple – California cannot afford to delay climate adaptation. Given the state’s budget challenges, a sizable climate bond is critical to keep our adaptation projects on track and reduce the risk of climate disaster in our communities in the coming years.  

We’re hopeful that the Governor and legislature will agree to a bond of at least $10 billion. That would include funding for wildfire mitigation and forest health, drought and drinking water resilience, protections against extreme heat, new investments in clean energy, and nature-based flood and sea level rise resilience. But unless the legislature acts before the end of June, voters won’t get the chance to weigh in on this bond measure in November. 

You Can Make A Difference

You can help by telling your legislators to support a climate bond now, and to include significant funding for the State Coastal Conservancy.

Use this tool to find your representatives in Sacramento and give them a call today. Here’s a sample of what to say:  

Hello, I’m a constituent of the (Assemblymember/Senator), and I’m calling to support a $10 billion climate bond with significant funding for the State Coastal Conservancy. We need to invest in sea level rise preparedness, and the climate bond will provide funding needed to build nature-based shoreline protections throughout the Bay Area. Climate change won’t wait for better budget years, so please don’t delay and pass a $10 billion climate bond now.