By Miles Beauchamp, PhD
Dr. Beauchamp teaches writing and diverse communications at Alliant International University. He co-wrote Disabled Literature and has another book due for release. He has been with the Asian Journal since the 1990’s.
Interesting climate news
El Monte Union, San Diego Unified, Stockton Unified school districts awarded multi-million California Climate Investments grants
When you’re a news junkie (oh, yeah, that’s definitely me), you find all sorts of interesting things. I saw this recently and have to pass it along. “The California Air Resources Board recently announced a first-of-its-kind program that will fund a variety of projects promoting zero-emission transportation options for students, parents and staff members served by school districts in California.
Grant winners for the new two-year Clean Mobility in Schools Pilot Project are:
•El Monte Union High School District — $9.8 million
•San Diego Unified School District — $9.75 million
•Stockton Unified School District — $4.8 million
“This pilot project addresses the need to do more — beyond cleaning up school buses — to reduce exposure to harmful air pollution by children and others in and around schools,” CARB Executive Officer Richard Corey said. “These projects will set up the schools to address climate change, reduce air pollution, and lead the next generation in learning about and using clean mobility options. Congratulations to these first grant winners.” The Clean Mobility in Schools Pilot Project is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities.Projects developed and run by the individual school district grantees will be designed to meet community or district’s needs. One major goal of the pilot project is to serve as a laboratory to test different approaches. CARB staff will use the lessons learned to develop a blueprint and guidance for other school districts interested in implementing similar projects.
The award winners
The top three projects preliminarily awarded these first-time grants will support both small-scale and larger-scale, long-term school initiatives. Smaller projects include, for example, zero-emission vanpools used by staff to travel to meetings and used for small student group trips. Projects also include the development of workforce training to teach students how to repair and maintain the vehicles, as well as school curricula to teach students how zero-emission vehicle technology works.Large-scale initiatives in the planning stage include developing innovative vehicle-to-grid charging infrastructure and pathways to zero-net energy school districts.Each project is located within a disadvantaged community (as defined by Senate Bill 535) where more people are exposed to harmful pollutants and suffer from greater economic and health burdens. Funding for the projects in the three school districts will be delivered in the coming months once contracts are finalized.
Latest California greenhouse gas inventory shows alternative energy surpasses fossil-powered electricity
Governor Gavin Newsom announced that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in California continued to fall ahead of schedule as the state’s economy grew ahead of the national average, according to the California Air Resources Board’s latest state inventory of climate-changing emissions.The data also shows that for the first time since California started to track GHG emissions, the state power grid used more energy from zero-GHG sources like solar and wind power than from electrical generation powered by fossil fuels. In addition, the data demonstrates that emissions from the transportation sector did not rise as fast as in previous years.“California is proving that smart climate policies are good for our economy and good for the planet,” said Governor Newsom. “As the Trump Administration attempts to obliterate national climate protections, California will continue advancing the cause of American climate leadership.”In 2017, the California economy grew at 3.6 percent – 1.4 percent above the national average, according to the state Department of Finance. 2017 was also the second year in a row in which GHG emissions fell below the 2020 reduction target of 431 million metric tons established by the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (Assembly Bill 32). GHG emissions came in at 424 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent in 2017, a decrease of five million metric tons from 2016.“This is further evidence that California’s groundbreaking climate regulations are helping to deliver the greenhouse gas reductions needed to meet our 2020 target – and give us a running start at our even more ambitious 2030 target, too,” said California Air Resources Board Chair Mary D. Nichols.
Funds to replace old agricultural equipment and vehicles are now available for 18 of California’s smaller air districts. Replacement with cleaner equipment helps reduce emissions of harmful diesel exhaust and greenhouse gases, and improves local air quality.The statewide Funding Agricultural Replacement Measures for Emission Reductions (FARMER) program received $132 million in fiscal year 2018-19. Approximately $4.65 million is specifically designated for districts that each contribute less than 1 percent of total statewide emissions from agricultural equipment.The first application period for the 18 “shared pool” districts kicked off Saturday, February 1, and runs through March 1, 2020. The second application period is set from May 1 to June 1, 2020. FARMER funding is administered by California’s regional air districts, and farmers apply by submitting an application to their local air district.
To be eligible, vehicles and equipment must be engaged in agricultural operations. Eligible project categories include:
•On-road heavy-duty trucks;
•Off-road vehicles, such as tractors;
•Stationary and portable engine sources, such as agricultural pumps;
•Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTV), or small tractors, (eligible for replacement with electric UTV); and
•Infrastructure engaged in, or supporting, agricultural operations.
Since the FARMER program first launched in 2018, projects implemented statewide will reduce 250 tons of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5), 4,200 tons of oxides of nitrogen (NOx), and 64,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gases.The FARMER Program is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities.”