Sen. Wieckowski bill would create new climate officer to lead state's climate adaptation policies

The officer would be appointed by the Governor

January 28, 2019

SACRAMENTO – With the threat of wildfires, mudslides and other disasters posed by climate change expected to worsen, State Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) today announced new legislation to create a position of chief officer of climate adaptation and resilience.  The chief officer would be appointed by the Governor and lead climate adaptation action out of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, under Wieckowski’s SB 168.

“Throughout our state, we have seen the terrible effect of our changing climate and how severely it can destroy our communities, local economies and lead to loss of life and property,” said Wieckowski, the chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee on Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy and Transportation. “California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment points to dryer conditions in the future, interrupted by larger, intense storm bursts that can increase the risk of floods.  We need a well-coordinated strategy based on the latest science to enable our state to be resilient enough to meet these and other incredible challenges.  The chief officer would be the statewide lead to manage this effort on adaptation.”

Wieckowski made the announcement in Los Angeles while speaking on an adaptation panel at the 12th Annual VerdeXchange, a conference of leading international climate policymakers, entrepreneurs, professionals and environmentalists from the public and private sector.  

Under SB 168, the chief officer would also serve on the technical advisory council, created under legislation Wieckowski authored in 2015.  The advisory council has expertise on a wide number of issues relating to climate change and climate science. The previous legislation, SB 246, filled the need for improved communication and coordination in climate adaptation efforts among all levels of government, as well as for a centralized source of information and tools for planning and implementing adaptation efforts.  It resulted in an information clearinghouse (www.resilientca.org) with guidelines, case studies, research and data-sets for climate researchers, planners, and scientists.

“California is a global leader on climate mitigation and by creating a point person to lead our planning and coordinating of adaptation and resiliency programs, we will be better able to act on crucial projects more efficiently,” Wieckowski said.

Senator Wieckowski represents the 10th District, which includes southern Alameda County and northeast Santa Clara County.