SAN PEDRO – 08/10/11 – (Scott Varley, Staff Photographer) Bluff at Pt. Fermin Park, San Pedro. Climate Change
California climate researchers sound the alarm at [state’s climate change symposium…
‘We have to break old habits’]
By Sandy Mazza, Daily Breeze Posted: 08/25/15
A warming atmosphere has already worsened California’s drought and harmed coastal ecosystems, but the worst is yet to come, according to the latest scientific research presented this week on the interactions of air pollution, water reserves and weather patterns. State environmental and natural resources regulators joined with Gov. Jerry Brown’s Office of Planning and Research to present the latest statewide academic findings at the California Climate Change Symposium in Sacramento on Monday and Tuesday. [Presentations may be available on line in the future]
But researchers were less interested in sharing their data than in provoking political action — something they said they have failed to do because of poor communication with the general public. “What we’re beginning to understand is that there’s no way out,” said Susanne Moser, a leading Santa Cruz-based climate change researcher. “We need transformational change. We don’t need more studies as much as we need to communicate the urgency and make solid changes. We need to not debate forever.
“It’s hot and it’s getting hotter. It’s not looking good. It’s not going to get a lot easier. We’re just beginning to understand the most catastrophic situations, and we’re starting to sound like TV evangelists in what we’re trying to say.” Coastal areas and forests are of particular concern now because both face grave threats to their ecosystems, as dense forests and warmer temperatures collude to create bigger fires — which are large contributors to carbon emissions, and scientists warn of coastal flooding and mass fish and water-bird extinctions. Without action, researchers said, Californians will see greater droughts, floods, more intense storms, increasingly severe wildfires and permanent forest loss, and continually depleted groundwater reserves necessary for future drinking water supplies, among other major environmental shifts. This dire future picture comes at a time when the state is poised to accept another 11.5 million residents in the next 30 years, bringing the population to 50 million and taxing public services.
Local funding for environmental initiatives is slim and competition for the dollars fierce. Low-income communities receive disproportionately less money and are therefore less prepared than their more affluent counterparts, scientists say. What’s more, management of water reserves across Los Angeles County is complicated, convoluted and beset by private interests — a challenging landscape for working regionally to pool resources. “We’re getting over the illusion that we can (fix) this with just a few little changes,” Moser said during Tuesday’s keynote presentation. “We have to break old habits.”
From Dr. Susanne Moser’s excellent keynote:
“Valerie brown- has worked on wicked problems for 30 years—biggest problem—we have knowledge in each different sector— dismiss holistic knowledge as impractical at this conference; Brown suggests that if we want to solve any wicked problems—have to have forums across which knowledge is shared; Proposal for next cc symposium—let’s report on doing that; collective problem definition, reporting and learning from collective—not just scientists or social scientists—
“transformational change means stopping, breaking down old, not knowing, emerging and living into new”