It sounds too good to be true, but a groundbreaking bill passed in California last week that promises to do two important things at once: boost sustainable farming in the nation’s biggest agricultural state and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
You see, the Golden State is revving up to start its own carbon market (or "cap-and-trade" plan) and it kicks off next month. This plan is designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050 and will require power plants and large industrial facilities like oil refineries and manufacturers (and eventually fuel and natural gas distributors), to participate in a process of paying for their pollution (or, in some cases, selling credits they earn by not polluting).
This cap and trade program will result in new public funds that can be invested in activities that further reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, as the state’s public radio affiliate KQED reports, revenues “are expected to reach into the billions of dollars by the end of next year.” And the bill that passed last week -- AB 1532 -- dictates what kinds of activities those dollars can be spent on. But here’s the coolest part: Sustainable and organic farming practices made the list!