A Model for Responding to Climate Change
Photography:
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A Model for Responding to Climate Change

In the past decade, California voters passed two pieces of legislation that together establish a model for addressing climate change. The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) requires the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008 (SB 375) requires California communities to adopt strategies to meet regional greenhouse gas reduction targets through changes in land use and targeted investments in transportation infrastructure.

RLF is partnering with the Rockefeller Foundation, the Energy Foundation, The California Endowment, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund to help put this climate strategy into action. To support implementation of AB 32, we crafted and launched a public education program aimed at communicating the significant threats of climate change and the advantages of a proactive, statewide approach to reducing emissions. The program emphasizes the interplay between climate and human factors, including government transportation investments, land use decisions, the cost of transportation incurred by families, and public health.

By integrating and directing its donor-partners’ funds, RLF is building a more robust nonprofit sector dedicated to environmental issues, social equity, and public health—all of which are critical to achieving California’s climate change goals. Strategic investments on behalf of our partners have expanded the capacity of key nonprofits by providing expert technical assistance; building stronger coalitions; and providing support for research, communication, and administrative advocacy at state and regional levels.

Through these efforts, we have enabled our partners to make a significant contribution to achieving California’s climate goals at the state and community levels. Regional plans adopted so far—covering 82 percent of the state’s population—meet or exceed SB 375’s emission reduction targets. And billions of dollars will be invested in public transit, bicycle infrastructure, and pedestrian facilities, while promoting more compact growth patterns.

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