California Governor Says Drought is a “Stark Warning” of What is to Come with a Changing Climate

Press statement by Adrienne Alvord, California and Western States Director of the Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Jan 22, 2014


SACRAMENTO (Jan. 22, 2014) – In his annual State-of-the-State Address, Gov. Jerry Brown issued a call to action for California to “do everything possible to mitigate the effects of the drought” and prepare for future water shortages in the midst of a changing climate.

“We do not know how much our current problem derives from the build-up of heat-trapping gasses, but we can take this drought as a stark warning of things to come,” the governor said. “The United Nations Panel on Climate Change says – with 95 percent confidence – that human beings are changing our climate. This means more droughts and more extreme weather events, and, in California, more forest fires and less snow pack.”

To deal with the current drought — among the worst in California history — the governor called for increased conservation, expanded water storage, improved groundwater management and watershed restoration. In addition, he called for investments in safe drinking water, particularly in disadvantaged communities.

Below is a statement by Adrienne Alvord, California and Western States Director of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“The governor has made it clear that California, already a leader in battling climate change, must ramp up progress in reducing global warming emissions as the state faces increased droughts, more wildfires and a dwindling snowpack. Scientific evidence supports the governor’s position that these threats will intensify unless we take actions to slow the pace of climate change and reduce its impacts.

“I was particularly gratified that the governor called attention to the need to reduce the amount of gasoline used by Californians. The Union of Concerned Scientists believes reducing oil consumption is key to addressing climate change and has a plan to cut our projected oil use in half that will save money, protect our health, and lower global warming emissions—all with solutions available today. 

“I applaud the governor for his continued commitment to California’s efforts to fight climate change and his plan for addressing the state’s critical water shortage.”