Climate Benefits for California: FAQ's

A field of California poppies. Flickr: Kaos2
Freqently Asked Questions about the Climate Benefits for California Map

About the map

Where does the data come from?

The data comes from grant reports released by the administering agencies. TransForm drew on the expertise of the following partners to compile and prepare the data and create detailed project descriptions: California Bicycle Coalition, California Climate and Agriculture Network, California Housing Partnership Corporation, California ReLeaf, Californians Against Waste, Housing CA, Move LA, and The Nature Conservancy.

Why don't I see any climate benefits in my area?

There will always be some delay between when state agencies announce new grants, and when these projects can be published on the map. Check here for the latest updates on which projects have been published, and sign up for updates to receive notifications by email. Over time as more awards are announced, projects in areas throughout the state will receive funding.  However, the overall distribution of projects will never be entirely equal throughout the state, as many programs award competitive grants. The majority of the programs are competitive so innovative projects and strategies that reduce GHGs and maximize other public benefits will receive the most funding.

Why are there projects in my search area that seem to be located outside the search boundaries?

Many projects span wide areas and benefit more than one specific location.  In order to keep the map visually manageable, we chose to represent each project with one point, even if the project’s reach is actually very large.  As a result, for some searches, projects that benefit that geographic location may appear to be “located” outside the search boundaries.  Visit the project summary page for an individual project to see the most accurate project boundary.

How did you choose which benefits to show on the map?

The benefits mapped are based on what is required to be included in project applications from each of the administering state agencies. We will update the map as additional public information on project benefits are made available.

What does "jobs supported" mean?

“Jobs supported” includes permanent and temporary jobs generated by a project (over the lifetime?).

Why can't I search by smaller geographies such as cities?

As increasingly more projects are awarded there will be consideration given to adding other geographic searches such as cities.

Why are some numbers labeled “projected” or “average annual”?

These terms are used to account for the benefits over the project’s lifetime and provide a standard by which to evaluate total benefits.

Projected: At the time of publishing, most projects have not yet been completed.  “Projected” benefits are the awardees’ estimates of the results of their project once completed, as submitted to the state in the grant application.

Average Annual: Each project has an operable lifetime and an estimated total amount of benefits over that time. However, these may vary from year to year during project lifetime. “Average Annual” refers to benefits where the yearly figure is most meaningful to understand the benefit, versus listing the total over the lifetime of the project. 

About cap-and-trade

What is the relationship between cap-and-trade and climate benefits?

The California Climate Investments Program (CCIP) is the source of funding for the various greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction programs that create climate benefits. The funds are generated by state auctions of GHG pollution permits under the state’s cap-and-trade program, and then deposited in the CCIP. The amount of funding allocated to each of the different programs under the CCIP is determined by the legislature and Governor through the annual budget process. By law, the funding must be invested in projects and programs that reduce greenhouse gases and improve the economy, health, and equity of California’s communities. The programs included in the Climate Benefits Map account for all the programs that receive funds from the CCIP.

Where does the funding come from?

The funding comes from California’s landmark cap-and-trade program. Facilities covered under the program are required to submit permits to cover their annual emissions. These permits are issued at state-run auctions. The proceeds from these auctions are deposited in the California Climate Investment Program (CCIP, formerly the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund or GGRF) and are required by law to be invested in projects and programs that reduce greenhouse gases and provide economic, public health, and other cobenefits.

What is a Disadvantaged Community?

“Disadvantaged communities” are defined by the California Environmental Protection Agency as communities most affected by the harmful effects of climate change.  The definition is based on a wide range of criteria such as geographic, socioeconomic, public health, and environmental hazards. To learn more about the criteria, visit CalEPA’s website. Communities identified as “disadvantaged” are specifically targeted to receive 25% of the funding from the cap-and-trade program per SB 535, a law passed in 2012.

By dedicating a portion of climate investments to communities that have disproportionately borne the burden of pollution, racism, and disinvestment, we have the opportunity to help right the wrongs of the past and create a California where health, prosperity, and fairness are extended to all.  We can also provide a model for climate protection that is rooted in justice and tackles economic inequality as a primary strategy for environmental success.

Where do I find more information about cap-and-trade funded programs?

You can find details on several of the programs funded by cap-and-trade here:

This PDF gives a clear overview of all of the programs funded by cap-and-trade: California Expenditure of Cap-and-Trade Auction Proceeds. For more information on all of the programs, visit the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund Program Page on Air Resources Board’s website. 

Who can apply for cap-and-trade funds?

Eligible applicants for this funding vary by program, but include government agencies, the private sector, and nonprofits. To see the full list of eligible applicants for a specific CCIP program, visit that program’s webpage (which can be found via the Air Resource Board webpage).

About TransForm 

Why did TransForm make the Climate Benefits for California map?

California has a vision not only to reduce greenhouse gases but also to make our communities healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous. Part of this vision is a commitment to invest billions of dollars in low-carbon sustainable communities, transportation, natural resources, and energy projects that will achieve these goals. This map provides a means of exploring the positive impacts of these investments at the local, regional, and state level.

Who funds TransForm and the Climate Benefits for California map?

The Climate Benefits for California campaign is supported by the generosity of the Energy Foundation, Surdna Foundation, The California Endowment, and The Nature Conservancy. TransForm is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit and receives support from private foundations, government agencies, and many, many individual donors. See our 2014 Annual Report or visit About Us for more information.

How can I get involved?

There are several ways to connect with and support Climate Benefits for California:

  • Get updates and help spread the word.  Be the first to hear about new additions to the map and help spread the word!  Share your searches on social media, grab a widget for your website (coming soon!), and download and print reports to educate your community.
  • Get involved as a map collaborator. Assist us in data collection, share stories of benefits in your community, and help us get the word out on climate benefits.
  • Join us as a funder. Strengthen the potential of our tool to create a healthier California for all by becoming a funder.