Climate Change Reports Highlight Impacts and Challenges for California
SACRAMENTO â€“ Facing the severe threat of climate change, California policymakers and researchers announced new data to reduce and adapt to climate change in the Golden State.
According to new reports released by the California Natural Resources Agency and the California Energy Commission, state and local leaders now have a wealth of detailed information about adapting to climate change. The findings were announced today at a news conference at the California Emergency Management Agency.
â€œSignificant increases in wildfires, floods, severe storms, drought and heat waves are clear evidence that climate change is happening now. California is stepping up to lead the way in preparing for â€“ and adapting to â€“ this change,â€ said Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird.
These reports use cutting-edge science to provide an analytical roadmap, pointing the way for taking concrete steps to protect our natural resources and all Californians.
The new data will help state and local communities to protect public health, grow the Stateâ€™s economy, ensure energy reliability, and safeguard the environment. Conducted by 26 research teams from numerous academic institutions, the reports comprise the Stateâ€™s third climate change assessment released since 2006.
â€œWe know that climate change will significantly affect the stateâ€™s energy supply and demand,â€ said Energy Commission Chair Robert B. Weisenmiller.
This groundbreaking research gives us the data and analytical tools we need to better plan, forecast and prepare to meet the stateâ€™s energy needs as we face climate challenges.
This new assessment, guided by various state agencies and independent scientific experts, offers findings on current and projected impacts of climate change on the stateâ€™s energy, water, agriculture, coastal regions and public health. The reports provide vital data for taking action, with studies focused on assessing local and regional barriers and opportunities for adapting to a shifting climate. Areas of focus include the San Francisco Bay Area, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Santa Barbara. The assessment is part of Californiaâ€™s evidence-based statewide approach to reducing the risks of climate change, as directed by the Governorâ€™s Office.
â€œThe Governor is committed to rigorous climate science and understanding the impacts of climate change on California so that we can respond, adapt, and continue to prosper,â€ said Ken Alex, Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Brown, and Director of the Office of Planning and Research. â€œWise investment in our Stateâ€™s future depends on the science, and is key to strengthening Californiaâ€™s economy and protecting the health of our citizens.â€
This assessment follows up on discussions and topics presented at the Governorâ€™s Conference on Extreme Climate Risks and Californiaâ€™s Future, held last December in San Francisco. The new studies will provide a foundation for the 2012 Climate Adaptation Strategy, with completion expected in December 2012.
The reports also offer crucial guidance for effective emergency response.
â€œCAL FIRE knows what itâ€™s like to battle a fire on the ground, and that firefighters must have the right tools to prevail,â€ said Chief Ken Pimlott, Director, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE). â€œThese studies provide the tools we need now to further our plans for the risks that climate change brings: more frequent and more intense wildfires, longer fire seasons, and a decline in the health of our stateâ€™s conifers.â€
State and local firefighters have already responded to more than 1,000 fires this year compared to the same time last year.
â€œThese studies use the best and most innovative science to help us better understand how vulnerable California is to climate change and what we can do to adapt,â€ said Dr. Susanne Moser, a Santa-Cruz based researcher who contributed to the assessment studies. â€œIt’s clear that reducing climate change risks cannot be done with reducing greenhouse gas emissions alone, though that remains a top priority. These studies show that climate change is being felt in California now and will have more severe impacts in the future unless we plan ahead.â€
Findings of the assessment studies include the following.
1) California will continue to get hotter.analytical tools, california energy commission, change assessment, concrete steps, natural resources agency
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