Science and Impacts: California and Western States

California's climate is expected to become considerably warmer during this century. Projections indicate that if global warming emissions proceed at their current rate, average temperatures are expected to rise 4.6 to 8.6 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. In contrast, a lower emissions rate would keep the projected warming to 2.8 to 6.0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Scientists expect these temperature increases to have widespread consequences — including substantial loss of snowpack, increased risk of large wildfires, and reductions in the quality and quantity of certain agricultural products -- making it essential that we take steps today to prepare for these changes.

You can learn more in the 2012 assessment from the California Climate Change Center. Download the report:

Our Changing Climate 2012: Vulnerability and Adaptation to the Increasing Risks from Climate Change in California (PDF)

California Global Warming Solutions

wind turbine above the fog

Photo: Tim Phillips/Flickr

The California Global Warming Solutions Act, or AB 32, was signed into law in 2006. As the nation’s most comprehensive, economy-wide global warming pollution reduction program, AB 32 requires the state’s global warming pollution to be reduced to 1990 levels by 2020 through a suite of programs and policies, including a declining statewide cap on global warming emissions.

As part of that effort, in 2011 California enacted a 33% renewable electricity standard, which requires that all utilities in the state obtain at least 33 percent of their electricity from clean, renewable sources, such as wind or solar power, by 2020. In addition, in 2012 California adopted global warming standards for cars and light trucks, as well as requirements for zero-emission vehicles, which will reduce global warming emissions from the transportation sector. 

Fighting Misinformation in California

Understanding the best ways to talk about global warming is essental to effectively fight back against misinformation about climate science. As part of this effort, UCS offers a series of online webinars that help elevate the voices of scientists in California—and effectively communicate the growing risks of climate change to policy makers.

Such efforts are crucial to defending climate policies already, as demonstrated in 2010 when UCS helped to successfully defeat an oil industry-backed effort to derail California's landmark global warming law, AB 32.

We Need Your Support
to Make Change Happen

We can reduce global warming emissions and ensure communities have the resources they need to withstand the effects of climate change—but not without you. Your generous support helps develop science-based solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.