Senate hearing on state's climate adaptation programs shows increased coordination vital to protecting California

April 11, 2018

SACRAMENTO – Longer fire seasons, floods and increasing heat waves are already affecting California’s residents and natural environment, and as these and other dangers posed by climate change threaten more aspects of everyday life the state is working to adapt by investing in coordinated programs that integrate information, modern science and best practices to protect the public.

That is what a variety of experts who work on climate adaptation issues told the Senate Environmental Quality Committee at a hearing this morning examining the implementation of California’s climate adaptation policies.

“We know from an ever-growing body of scientific research that the climate is warming and that this changing climate has serious impacts for California,” said Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), the committee’s chair.  “Already we have seen rising sea levels, an increase in average temperatures, and diminished snowpack. California has been a leader in climate mitigation and we are working towards also being a leader in adaptation and resiliency.”

While describing the extensive work their agencies and organizations are doing to use resources, mapping tools and research to implement adaptation programs and integrate them into the planning process, several speakers from the state and local level emphasized the importance of coordination and centralization between all levels of government and the public and private sectors.

“ARCCA (Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation) believes the state needs a centralized body to coordinate these agencies,” said Jonathan Parfrey, executive director of Climate Resolve and ARCCA’s founder.

Wieckowski authored SB 246 in 2015, establishing the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program with the state’s Office of Planning and Research. The ICARP coordinates and maintains the State Adaptation Clearinghouse of information.  But more work needs to be done, he said.  He has introduced SB 262 on climate adaptation.

“SB 262 will be amended in the coming weeks to reflect some of the comments and suggestions made by today’s leading panel experts,” Wieckowski said.  “Improved coordination of California’s climate adaptation policies can ensure that we invest more efficiently in a cohesive, coordinated way to protect the public’s health and safety.”

Sen. Wieckowski represents the 10th District, which includes southern Alameda County and parts of Santa Clara County.