Senate Environmental Quality Committee approves Wieckowski climate adaptation bill

March 20, 2019

SACRAMENTO – As one report after another warns of severe damage to natural and man-made environments and extensive economic harm caused by climate change, today the Senate Environmental Quality Committee approved SB 168 by State Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) to create a position of chief officer of climate adaptation and resilience.  The chief officer would be appointed by the Governor and coordinate climate adaptation out of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research.

“We know we must become more pro-active today to adapt to the harmful effects of climate change we will see in the future,” said Wieckowski, the chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee on Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy and Transportation. “These effects include rising temperatures and rising sea levels. California could see extensive flooding along the coast, coastal erosion and about $150 billion worth of property damaged according to the United States Geological Survey study released last week. We are placing a greater emphasis on adaptation and resilience and that is why SB 168 is needed.”

SB 168 is supported by the Sierra Club, the Northern California Power Association, the Southern California Association of Governments, and Climate Resolve.

“Climate change is already having a huge impact on Californians throughout the state,” said Kathryn Phillips, director of Sierra Club California.  “It’s essential to designate someone to help make sure the state’s strategies for responding are coordinated and effective. This issue can’t stay on the back burner any longer.”

Under SB 168, the chief officer would also lead the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program’s Technical Advisory Council, created under SB 246, which Wieckowski authored in 2015.  The advisory council has expertise on a wide number of issues relating to climate change and climate science. The council holds its first meeting of the year on Friday. 

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