June 14, 2016

Assembly Climate Safe Infrastructure Bill Gains Momentum, Passes First Senate Vote

AB 2800 Would Create Working Group to Integrate Climate Science into Engineering

Statement by Jason Barbose, Western States Policy Manager, Union of Concerned Scientists

OAKLAND, Calif. (June 14, 2016)—The California Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee today passed AB 2800 (Quirk, D-Hayward), a bill requiring the creation of a climate-safe infrastructure working group. Today’s vote represents forward momentum to address a dangerous disconnect between engineering and climate science that threatens the safety, benefits and reliability of public infrastructure projects. The full Assembly passed the bill on June 1.

Below is a statement by Jason Barbose, Western States Policy Manager, Union of Concerned Scientists.

"When a disaster strikes, the difference between life and death is often how well our structures are built. Public infrastructure projects—such as roads, bridges, dams, reservoirs and buildings—are at risk when they are not built to withstand the unavoidable impacts of climate change. The stakes are high because these projects are built—often with public tax dollars—to last for decades, but they may not remain safe and reliable as climate change results in higher temperatures, more frequent and intense extreme weather events, and accelerated sea level rise. For example, parts of the eastern approach to the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge are expected to be inundated by three feet of water by the end of the century.

"Californians are at risk because engineers regularly design projects assuming that the past is a good predictor of the future, but this practice is no longer viable. AB 2800 will require engineers and climate scientists to collaborate to help our state design and build climate safe infrastructure."

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.