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December 9, 2009 > Schwarzenegger releases climate adaptation strategy

Schwarzenegger releases climate adaptation strategy

Submitted By Governor Schwarzenegger's Press Office

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently released California's Climate Adaptation Strategy (CAS) final report, a first-of-its-kind comprehensive, multi-sector analysis that will enhance the state's management of climate impacts from sea level rise, increased temperatures, shifting precipitation and extreme natural events, as ordered by Executive Order S-13-08. The Governor also took action on two of the recommendations in the report today by announcing the creation of the Climate Adaptation Advisory Panel and announcing a new Google Earth-based application, Cal-Adapt, that will allow Californians to see the risks of climate change impacts in their communities.

"California has taken action and led the way in the U.S. and around the world in enacting green policies to fight climate change because no single issue threatens our planet's health and prosperity more," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "But even though we are taking all this great action, we must also be prepared if climate change continues to worsen. Scientists tell us temperatures could rise an additional seven degrees during this century and one study estimates that $2.5 trillion of California assets are threatened by climate change. That is why I signed an executive order last year calling on state agencies to develop adaptation strategies. I am pleased to release the final report today making California the first state to adopt such a comprehensive Climate Adaptation Strategy that will help us prepare for the impacts and challenges created by climate change."

The CAS final report summarizes the latest science on how climate change could impact the state and provides recommendations on how to manage against those threats. It focuses on seven different sectors - public health, biodiversity and habitat, ocean and coastal resources, water management, agriculture, forestry, and transportation and energy infrastructure - and lays out several recommendations focused on reducing climate risks to people, the environment and infrastructure. This includes many proposals that already align with key California initiatives such as reducing water consumption, improving water storage and conservation and increasing renewable energy use. The CAS report and recommendations can be found on the state's climate change portal at www.climatechange.ca.gov. As data continues to be developed and collected, the state's adaptation strategy will be updated to reflect current findings.

Led by the Natural Resources Agency, the CAS final report provides guidelines and recommendations to help direct the state's public sector in behaviors and activities to adapt to climate change impacts. The agency worked in collaboration with several other state agencies to develop the guidelines and recommendations including the California Emergency Management Agency; California Environmental Protection Agency; Business, Transportation and Housing Agency; Health and Human Services Agency; California Office of Information Security and the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Already taking action on CAS final report recommendations, the Governor and Google also unveiled a new Google Earth-based application, Cal-Adapt, allowing California residents to see how the risk of continued climate change could impact their communities. Setting the standard for displaying and transferring climate change information, the Cal-Adapt prototype application will allow users to explore the risks of global warming in California and help make better-informed localized adaptation decisions. Funded by the California Energy Commission and Google.org, the Stockholm Environmental Institute helped develop Cal-Adapt to display climate research in an interactive, geo-spatial way that could serve as a new model for displaying such research. The Governor and Google also unveiled an interactive fly-over video tour to highlight the risks of climate change in specific geographic locations throughout California. Users can access these Google Earth-based applications through visiting the state's climate change portal at www.climatechange.ca.gov.

Additionally, the Governor announced the state is partnering with the Pacific Council on International Policy's task force on California's Adaptation to Climate Change to act as the Climate Adaptation Advisory Panel. This independent, non-partisan group will build off the CAS final report focusing on three key hazards that are most likely to have increasing impact on California as the climate changes. These include increased wildfires and extended fire seasons, rising sea levels along 1,100 miles of coastline and reduced availability of water with reduced snow pack in the Sierras and extended periods of drought. The panel will develop recommendations for consideration by the Governor and his administration, the legislature and other stakeholders in July 2010.

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