August 14, 2014 Alex Leumer, The Nature Conservancy, Policy Associate, California Climate Change Program
California is taking action on climate resiliency and nature is playing a key role. The California Natural Resources Agency recently released the 2014 Safeguarding California Plan (SCP). This plan provides policy guidance for state decision makers, to reduce impacts and prepare for climate risks. The SCP, which updates the 2009 California Climate Adaptation Strategy, highlights climate risks in nine sectors in California, discusses progress to date, and makes sector-specific recommendations. The Nature Conservancy along with nineteen other environmental and public health organizations submitted comments to the Resources Agency and are pleased to see that many of our recommendations have been incorporated in the final plan. Overall, the Plan acknowledges the important role nature plays in reducing climate risks and enhancing resilience. Highlights from the Plan that reflect our comments include:
- “State agencies should identify climate risks to existing and new infrastructure projects. For new projects, climate risks should be considered in the planning, siting, design, construction, and maintenance of infrastructure projects.
- The 2009 CAS recommended that all new development “consider project alternatives that avoid significant new development in areas that cannot be adequately protected (planning, permitting, development, and building) from flooding, wildfire and erosion due to climate change.” To see this implemented, the state needs to require that climate risk considerations be incorporated into state infrastructure planning.
- “The state should develop guidelines for state agencies to follow as they incorporate climate considerations into all policies, planning, and investments.
- “Achieve Multiple Benefits from Efforts to Reduce Climate Risks and Prioritize Green Infrastructure Solutions: actions that reduce climate risks across multiple sectors and actions that address multiple climate risks should be prioritized. …One opportunity to achieve broad environmental benefits is through the use of natural infrastructure solutions to mitigate climate risk. Restoration and conservation of natural systems such as forests, grasslands and shrublands, agricultural lands, and wetlands can provide more resilient natural systems that also offer protection from climate impacts.
- “Develop Metrics and Indicators to Track Progress on Efforts to Reduce Climate Risk
The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research is also leading an effort develop an integrated set of indicators to help track progress on the state’s efforts to reduce GHG emissions and build climate resilience.”
This is an important step to making California more resilient to climate change. However, currently there is no law mandating implementation of any of the recommendations. We look forward to working with the state and the legislature to implement the strategies laid out in the SCP.
CA ADAPTATION CONFERENCE:
California Adaptation Forum
August 19-20, 2014. SACRAMENTO, CA On-site registration available
The Local Government Commission and the State of California are organizing the first California Adaptation Forum in the state capital, to be held August 19 – 20, 2014. This two-day forum will build off last year’s successful National Adaptation Forum in Colorado. The attendance of many California leaders there underscored the need for a California-focused event, which will be held every other year to complement the biennial national forum. To register go to: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/886364449