Wieckowski bill to create chief climate resilience officer passes Assembly Natural Resources

June 24, 2019

SACRAMENTO – The Assembly Natural Resources Committee today approved Senate Bill 168 by Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) to establish a chief climate resilience officer in the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR).  The bill now moves to the Assembly’s Appropriations Committee.

“We see the effects of climate change all around us and to successfully protect our health and safety and public and private property we need sound, collaborative policies that are well integrated through our state,” said Wieckowski, chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee on Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy and Transportation. “A chief climate resilience officer can take the lead making California more pro-active as we work with local and regional officials in the public and private sector.”

SB 168 is follow-up legislation to Senator Wieckowski’s SB 246 from 2015, which created the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resilience Program within OPR and a technical advisory council, consisting of leaders from all across California. Under SB 168, the chief climate resilience officer would chair the advisory council and help it facilitate coordination among state, regional and local agency efforts to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

“The reality is that climate change is here and vulnerable communities are already feeling the effects,” said Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens). “A chief resilience officer is needed to ensure that all communities are able to adapt to the new reality we’re living under with climate change. This is particularly true for our most vulnerable communities who might not have the resources to adapt and be resilient on their own. I am proud to be a co-author of this bill that takes an important next step in building a resilient California for all, and not just the haves.”

An April Legislative Analyst’s Office analysis on coastal adaptation, suggested the Legislature identify someone to coordinate and oversee state actions on sea level rise, climate adaptation and other climate-related issues.

SB 168 is supported by the Sierra Club, City of San Jose, Northern California Power Association, Union of Concerned Scientists, Southern California Association of Governments, Climate Resolve, Ocean Conservancy, Southern California Edison, U.S. Green Building Council and others.

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