Wednesday, May 09, 2018

In California Climate Change Is an ‘Immediate and Escalating’ Threat

A new state study lays out the evidence, from heat waves to droughts, wildfires and sea rise. It’s why California is fighting for tougher auto emissions standards.

There are many reasons—rooted in culture, politics and economy—that California has become a leader in the fight against global warming.

One reason is increasingly obvious:  The people who live there are being hit harder than ever by the costly effects of climate change.

"From record temperatures to proliferating wildfires and rising seas, climate change poses an immediate and escalating threat to California's environment, public health, and economic vitality," a comprehensive state climate change assessment issued Wednesday by the California Environmental Protection Agency says.

The report notes that state emissions of greenhouse gases have been going down since 1990 when measured on a per capita basis or when compared to economic growth.  But in absolute terms, the annual tonnage of carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere each year only began to decline about a decade ago.

The state is on track to meet its goal of cutting emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, but it may have a harder time hitting its 2030 target—a 40 percent reduction from 1990.

Cars:  California's Achilles' Heel
The biggest challenge to meeting those goals is in the transportation sector.

The state has stringent emissions standards that rely heavily on the future adoption of electric vehicles, but those standards require a federal waiver, which the Trump administration is now threatening to revoke.

Trends in California's Population, Economy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Fans of the California model say there's hope to avoid the worst effects of climate change if the state helps set a pattern for the whole world with landmark policies that promote electric cars, a wholesale shift to clean energy and an effective price on carbon pollution.  If not, the damage will continue to build up.

Read more at In California Climate Change Is an ‘Immediate and Escalating’ Threat

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