Climate Change Adaption in California

by Brina Jablonski

Climate change has always affected California but even more so now in today’s current climate conditions. Problems revolving around rising sea levels, frequent heat waves, floods, wildfires, droughts, shrinking snow packs, growing water demand, changes in precipitation, hotter conditions, an increasing number of threatened or endangered animal species, and an extreme growth in human population are forcing the government of California to adapt and make plans for the future in order to minimize later damage for the Golden State. Assembly Bill 32 (the 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act) has already improved California’s energy, transportation, construction, agricultural, and natural resource sectors. As California faces these issues, the state also sets the framework for potential national and even international action. Davis and Chornesky (2014) primarily address how California is responding to rising sea levels, changes in water supply, flood risks, and weakened ecosystem resilience. They mention how California is avoiding development in future hazard zones and redesigning coastal structures in order to adapt to some of these problems. They also include how the government of California has decided to reduce per capita water use by twenty percent and improve statewide water quality in preparation for the possibility of uncontrollable flooding. Pricing, taxes, and gains in efficiency will hopefully influence water demand for the better in the long run. According to the authors, the main problem that California faces for the future is that the modifications for climate change may come up against private property rights. Although California is making significant modifications to combat climate change, the efforts are primarily centered on talk and analysis rather than action. The state has successfully shared information and made plans involving climate change but needs more political and financial support in order to take major action. Hopefully, with the help of stakeholders, California will be able to expand its’ climate change policies to not only address issues in the west coast but issues across the world.

Davis, Frank W., Chornesky, Elizabeth A. 2014. “Adapting to Climate Change in California.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Volume 70.5, 62-73.

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