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News California Governor’s budget proposal cuts funding for equitable building decarbonization
Building Decarbonization Coalition Neighborhoods & Capitol

January 10, 2024

Media Contact:
Robin Tung, robin@buildingdecarb.org
805-405-8167

California Governor Newsom announced a budget proposal that cuts $283 million in funding for the Equitable Building Decarbonization program, which aims to expand access to heat pumps and home upgrades for low-income households.

Sacramento, CA – California Governor Newsom announced a budget proposal today that cuts $283 million in funding for the Equitable Building Decarbonization program, which helps low-income California residents upgrade their homes with zero-emission heat pumps without shouldering the upfront costs of modern appliances and installation, and supports the state in its clean air and emissions goals.

“We urge Governor Newsom and the Legislature to protect low-income and environmental justice communities from pollution, extreme heat, and volatile heating bills. We need critical climate investments to upgrade homes and buildings with zero-emission heat pumps so that Californians have life-saving cooling, clean air, and healthy, resilient communities,” said Jose Torres, California Director at the Building Decarbonization Coalition. “We know that the budget shortfall poses a major challenge, but cuts to this program could have real life consequences for Californians.”

In California, extreme heat events have grown longer, more frequent, and more severe. Last July marked the hottest month on record and extreme heat could increase twenty-fold in California unless the state can curb carbon emissions. Temperatures are expected to rise in California by five degrees Fahrenheit by 2030, and ten degrees Farenheit by the end of the century or sooner. These dangerous heat waves pose a risk for the nearly a quarter of California households that lack access to cooling.

“As extreme heat accelerates, it is imperative that households in California have the resources necessary to live in homes that are cool enough to support health and well-being. Unfortunately, millions of households across the state are forced to endure dangerously high temperatures in their own homes. The Equitable Building Decarbonization program is a crucial tool for providing upgrades that not only address household-level extreme heat, but also decrease greenhouse gas emissions, improve indoor air quality, and lower energy bills in low-income households. With massive statewide need, California must continue to prioritize and fund this critical program,” said Olivia Seideman, Climate Policy Coordinator for Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability. Leadership Counsel is a founding member of the Building Equity, Energy & Power (BEEP) Coalition, a key stakeholder in the development of the CEC’s Equitable Building Decarbonization Program Guidelines.

Household appliances and equipment that burn fossil fuels, including furnaces and water heaters, contribute to California being home to the most polluted cities in the nation. The Equitable Building Decarbonization program can equip households with zero-emission heat pumps that can cut emissions and improve air quality in neighborhoods and across the state. This is especially critical for the ninety-nine percent of disadvantaged communities that are disproportionately impacted by pollution and its negative health effects, as well as the six million low- and moderate-income households that lack the capital to purchase and install equipment like heat pumps.

“The Equitable Building Decarbonization program was designed to deliver clear health and economic benefits to low-income and environmental justice communities across our state,” said Zach Pierce, Senior Manager of State and Local Policy at Rewiring America. “These are the investments our elected officials need to prioritize if we wish to secure a climate-safe and resilient future.”

Reducing funding that provides life-saving cooling and other home upgrades can put vulnerable Californians at risk. We encourage the Governor to restore funding and at the least consider a climate bond to help address funding needs for the Equitable Building Decarbonization program during this budget deficit. The Building Decarbonization Coalition is advocating alongside climate justice and environmental organizations to ensure that this funding is secured. In May, the Governor will release his May Revise which includes funding adjustments to his initial January proposal.

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The Building Decarbonization Coalition (BDC) aligns critical stakeholders on a path to transform the nation’s buildings through clean energy, using policy, research, market development, and public engagement. The BDC and its members are charting the course to eliminate fossil fuels in buildings to improve people’s health, cut climate and air pollution, prioritize high road jobs, and ensure that our communities are more resilient to the impacts of climate change.