SANTA MARIA, Calif. - California finance officials are taking greener steps to battle climate change blamed by many for the state's chronic, devastating wildfires.
California is the first state to sign the Green Bond Pledge that creates a bond market to finance eco-friendly, carbon-free infrastructure improvement projects.
California is facing an estimated $400 billion funding gap over the next 10 years for infrastructure improvements.
The Green Bond Market is seen as a financing tool for alternative, carbon-free and environmentally friendly infrastructure and capital improvement projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
"We know that our wildfires are becoming faster, they're becoming more intense", said California Treasurer John Chiang who signed the Green Bond Pledge on Tuesday, "we need to make sure we come up with the proper financing to build infrastructure so that Californians can protect themselves."
Eligible projects for financing can range from transportation and mass transit, renewable energy including solar and wind power, land preservation, clean water and clean air initiatives and alternative building materials like rice straw fiberboard used to build greener homes, schools and commercial buildings.
Those signing the Green Bond Pledge agree that climate change is an existential threat and green bond financing will only be used for projects that enhance sustainability.
The green bond financing concept was introduced more than a decade ago by the World Bank in Europe with the support of international environmental groups.