As the incoming Republican-led U.S. Congress makes plans to challenge the science behind climate change, the State of California is moving ahead with plans for climate change adaptation.
The Pacific Council on International Policy’s Task Force on Adaptation to Climate Change today released a report, “Preparing for the Effects of Climate Change – A Strategy for California,” (pdf) which sets out an "actionable plan for the Golden State by providing key and threat-specific recommendations regarding three significant hazards: sea level rise, more severe forest / range wildfires, and water supply reduction."
The Task Force, made up of a group of scientists, policymakers and other key stakeholders, was divided into three teams, each of which focused on one of the hazard areas. After a year-long process the group came to a consensus on four key recommendations for California:
- Increase monitoring and data gathering on the uses of, and changes to, the State’s natural resources and land-use patterns
- Establish a Climate Risk Council for California, to utilize the best available climate science to guide risk assessment and adaptation measures
- Improve multi-level and cross-sector communication and coordination for adaptation planning and stakeholder engagement
- Align incentives for proactive management and build funds to support large scale community based projects.
"California must prepare for a future that is likely to bring more frequent and intense rains and droughts, higher temperatures, rising sea levels along our 1,100 mile coastline and more severe fire seasons," write William K. Reilly and John Bryson, two of the report's authors, in The Sacramento Bee.
"Irrespective of where people stand on the causes of climate change – whether they believe it's human-influenced or natural variation – California's climate is changing," they write.