Preparing for Climate Change Impacts in California

Published Dec 11, 2012 Updated Sep 4, 2013

The climate is changing and the effects are apparent throughout California, including higher temperatures, more extreme wildfires, and rising sea levels. These changes — at least partly due to global warming — could have devastating effects on the regional economy, urban infrastructure, public health, recreation, tourism, agriculture, and the environment.

California historically has been a pioneer in addressing global warming, setting an example for other states and the federal government to follow.

We can — and must — redouble our efforts to minimize the risks of future warming by taking more action to reduce heat-trapping emissions. With the effects of global warming already starting to be felt, however, California communities must also take action to effectively prepare for the changes that cannot be avoided. \

Tools for Scientists

To help elevate the voices of scientists in California — and effectively communicate the growing risks of climate change to policy makers — UCS hosted a series of webinars, A Voice for Science and Scientists in California Climate Policy. Recordings of the webinars are available online.

In addition, through the Science Network Workshop Series, UCS offers scientists and experts training opportunities to strengthen communication and advocacy skills.

Insurance in an Era of Climate Change

Wildfires cost California hundreds of millions of dollars each year in firefighting efforts and property damage. With climate change fueling the frequency of wildfires, Californians who live in high-risk areas are facing an additional threat to the availability and affordability of their homeowners insurance.

UCS presented a public forum in June 2013, hosted by California State Senator Carol Liu and with a keynote address by California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, that examined the climate impacts Southern California can expect in coming years and how insurers, policymakers and consumers can work together to identify the best methods to strengthen our resilience to the impacts of climate change. Watch the video below from the forum and learn what you can do.

Climate Change in the San Joaquin Valley

In April 2013, UCS held a panel discussion on the latest science of likely climate impacts in the San Joaquin Valley and how local officials and businesses are planning for changes to water availability, increased wildfires, and more frequent extreme heat days.

Climate Change in the Los Angeles Region

To help state and local officials effectively prepare for the effects of climate change, UCS produced the following fact sheet that summarizes recent assessments of expected climate impacts in the Los Angeles region.

Preparing for Climate Change Impacts in Los Angeles: Strategies and Solutions for Protecting Local Communities outlines the likely effects of climate change in the Los Angeles area, including rising temperatures and more frequent heat waves, increased levels of harmful ground-level ozone, accelerating sea level rise, and growing water shortages.

Take Action on Climate Change

  • Contact your state legislators to urge them to support strong, science-based policies to reduce global warming emissions and prepare California communities for the impacts of climate change.
  • Visit our Activist Resource Center to learn about effective ways to engage policymakers on global warming and other issues.
  • Join thousands of other concerned citizens who are making an effort to reduce energy use and lower personal carbon emissions by 20 percent — the collective savings have a real and meaningful impact. Learn more.
  • Support our work. UCS experts analyze and recommend technologies and policies that help reduce global warming emissions and move us toward a safer, healthier future. Become a member of UCS or make a donation today!

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