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California and Western States

California Global Warming informationClimate change is real and already underway. Although this is a global phenomenon, it has very specific consequences for the different regions, states, cities, and neighborhoods where we live.

To help raise awareness about the local effects of global warming, UCS has gathered and synthesized regional climate analyses that can help lay the groundwork for effective solutions.

Explore the resources listed below to learn about regional global warming effects -- and solutions -- in California and the western United States.

Global Warming Science and Impacts: California

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:

Global Warming Solutions: California

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: 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.

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