California, Climate Action and Hope for the Future

Posted by in #Blog, #Interviews on January 30, 2017

Climate science and climate policy are leading California in the right direction. We asked participants and attendees at the 2017 California Climate Change Symposium: What gives you hope for the future? Here are their answers:

“Sub-national action around the world (cities, states, regions, business).” — Ken Alex, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Governor Jerry Brown, Jr.

“Increased collaboration between decision makers and scientists to develop creative and practical solutions to challenges related to climate change gives me hope for the future.” — Jamie Anderson, Senior Water Resources Engineer, CA Dept. of Water Resources

“I am heartened by an increasing awareness of the crucial role that communities on the ground must have in successful and lasting implementation of all environmental policies, but particularly climate policy.” — Karen Andrade, Postdoctoral Researcher, UC Davis

“I see more cross-sector collaboration happening and that is exciting. There is an openness to learn from each other.” — Elizabeth Baca, Senior Health Advisor, Governor’s Office of Planning and Research

“A renewed dedication by the scientific community to be more outspoken about the facts of climate change and its current and likely future impacts.” — Patrick Barnard, Coastal Geologist, United States Geological Survey

“I’m proud to work for California, where we can move forward with climate change. I am hopeful that we can make a difference here and collaborate with others throughout the country and world to make important contributions.” — Rupa Basu, Chief, Air and Climate Epidemiology Section, OEHHA

“Wider adoption of new cleantech technologies particularly in the field of transportation.” — Steve Baule, Manager of Special Projects, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

“One strength of California is the many recent graduates that have focused on climate change issues and are ready to work across disciplines to implement solutions now to address climate change impacts.” — Paige Berube, Program Manager, Ocean Protection Council

“Enhanced role for natural and working lands in the Revised, Draft AB 32 Scoping Plan.” — Louis Blumberg, California Climate Change Program Director at The Nature Consevancy

“The pace and scale of wetland restoration in San Francisco Bay, and its utilization in conjunction with more traditional flood protection solutions, bodes well for a more resilient Bay community.” — John Bourgeois, Executive Project Manager, South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project

“The marketplace has already spoken in favor of a clean energy future. Meanwhile, utility companies and small business owners, alike, have discovered how to reduce carbon pollution and energy use cost-effectively. We now have the success stories that have been so urgently needed. Now, what is needed is outreach the brings these solutions to light and gives voice to the many everyday people who are successfully embracing a prosperous, climate-friendly future.” — Tom Bowman, President, Bowman Change, Inc.

“We are gaining a better understanding of the kind of actions needed to have our forests serve as stable long-term carbon sinks — and the consequences of not taking those actions.” — Jim Branham, Executive Officer, Sierra Nevada Conservancy

“Actions to integrate climate change considerations into planning and operations of the critical infrastructure we all depend on in California.” — Judsen Bruzgul, Senior Manager, ICF

“When we consider how diverse California agriculture is in terms of resources, climate, crops and commodities, it gives me hope to see that diverse solutions are presented by research and innovation. Farmers and ranchers are able to use site-specific information and precision agriculture technologies to optimize production and also co-benefits (ecosystem services).” — Carolyn Cook, Senior Environmental Scientist, California Department of Food and Agriculture

“In the utility industry, there has been a steady increase in both statewide and national collaboration regarding climate science and adaptation. This large scale collaboration and willingness to share information and ideas gives me hope that we will be able to make significant strides in the coming years.” — Brian D’Agostino, Meteorology Program Manager, SDG&E

“With the drought, the same communities that have been vulnerable to water contamination and affordability challenges are the ones on the front lines of climate change and extreme weather. Small, low-income communities and rural communities of color have been hit hardest by water scarcity as the drought has further exposed drinking water vulnerabilities. The drought has left far too many Californians without running water, but it has also built momentum to finally address water challenges in small, low-income communities. Drought-impacted communities are standing up and demanding that local and state leaders address long-standing water injustices to make water safe, reliable, and affordable for all Californians.” — Susana De Anda, Co-Executive Director & Co-Founder, Community Water Center

“In California, researchers have been working to understand the causes and consequences of the drought, the government and the public have been working to address the drought, and these groups have interacted. This interaction is a shining example for the nation and the world.” — Noah Diffenbaugh, Professor, Stanford University

“Remotely sensed data, such as actual evapotranspiration and snow water equivalent, and improvements in data collection and computing are providing much improved estimates of the water balance that is integral to understanding our environment in the face of a changing climate. That being said, in order to achieve widespread impacts, it is still imperative that policymakers use scientific data and information to mitigate and adapt to these changes.” — Lorraine Flint, Research Hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey California Water Science Center in Sacramento

“Youth involvement in leadership. We are blessed with an upcoming generation of bold and innovative souls who will not stand to repeat the mistakes of earlier generations.” — Matt Gerhart, Bay Area Program Manager, State Coastal Conservancy

“Community-based participatory research as a means to support collaborative research efforts between scientific researchers and community members to address equitable resource allocation, and other climate change conditions disproportionately affecting under-resourced, low-income communities of color.” — Nahal Ghoghaie, Bay Area Program Coordinator, The Environmental Justice Coalition for Water

“BCDC and other regulators are eager to work with project applicants and other stakeholders to formulate ways to work more efficiently in light of growing climate threats while also emphasizing transparency and the appropriate conservation and development of natural resources.” — Larry Goldzband, Executive Director, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission

“Scientists and academics are increasingly reaching across interdisciplinary boundaries, as well as reaching out to stakeholders and the public, to address our most pressing environmental problems.” — Alex Hall, Professor, UCLA Dept. of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

“We in state agencies are realizing that we need genuine, robust community engagement to develop programs, policies and projects that are effective and lasting. We are starting to create structures to obtain sustained community input, and to share more decision-making power with communities. These structures include collaborating with community-based organizations to conduct workshops; establishing climate justice advisory groups to provide input to documents, policies and conferences; and providing guidance to agencies to help them promote equity and health as they account for climate change in their infrastructure and investments.” — Linda Helland, Climate Change and Health Equity Program Lead, California Department of Public Health

“Executive Order B-10-11” — Heather Hostler, Chief Deputy Tribal Advisor, Governor’s Office of Edmund G. Brown Jr.

“Monitoring and modeling capability to improve the understanding how past management practices and climate change have affected wildfire risk, and thus help to inform better management strategies to reduce fire hazard.” — Yufang Jin, Assistant Professor, University of California, Davis

“California’s connectedness to the international adaptation science and policy community is particularly exciting right now. The success of the Under2MoU is testament to the increasing role of states and cities to accelerating climate action and California is very much center stage in driving momentum at the sub-national level.” — Robert Kay, Principal, Climate Change, ICF

“What gives me hope isn’t “new” but rather the increased attention and focus on better connecting and understanding climate change in the context of people’s lived experience and day-to-day lives and moving away from climate change in the abstract.” — Nuin-Tara Key, Resilience Program Manager, Governor’s Office of Planning and Research

“I am hopeful that so many scientists and policy makers are co-developing research programs to find ways to adapt to the changes that are happening.” — Kristy Kroeker, Assistant Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz

“With the election of Donald Trump, it is increasingly clear that climate science at the federal level will be under attack. But California’s commitment to robust climate science and progressive public policy position our state to lead regionally, nationally and internationally on needed solutions and action.” — George Leonard, Chief Scientist, Ocean Conservancy

“Increasing awareness of the role of the natural system to increase the resilience of an urbanized estuary.” — Jeremy Lowe, Senior Environmental Scientist, San Francisco Estuary Institute

“Through the Jalisco’s Energy Agency we will design and introduce strategies to mitigate climate change that generates a positive social and economic impact, privileging the preservation and restoration of the state’s ecological balance. In addition, we will generate energy alliances that allow us to be a leading, innovative and avant-garde state.” — Sergio Medina Gonzalez, Ph.D., Jalisco’s Energy Agency

“There are two things in my field that give me hope. First, the recognition that transportation is a major contributor to GHG emissions and therefore has to be a major part of the solution; and, second, the continued development of technology to make transportation more sustainable.” — Jeff Morales, CEO, CA High-Speed Rail Authority

“More research, open data.” — Anne Neville, Director, California Research Bureau

“I have been surprised by the number and vigor of potential partners in working on nature-based solutions to sea level rise. TNC has active partnerships with the U.S. Navy and with Caltrans to develop ways to manage built infrastructure and nature together. We no longer have to make the case to these partners — they get it!” — Sarah Newkirk, Coastal Program Director, The Nature Conservancy

“There’s increasing saliency on climate change among American voters. Those that rated it a top three issue increased from 4% of U.S. voters in 2012 to 10% in 2016.” — Bob Perkowitz, Founder and President, ecoAmerica

“I am very excited about the international efforts on both ocean acidification and greenhouse gas emissions that California has helped to spearhead. It has been inspiring to see so many different jurisdictions come together and lean on each other to tackle our global CO2 challenge… and in a very short amount of time! The grit, kindness, and positivity across these communities continues to renew my hope.” — Jenn Phillips, Policy Advisor, California Natural Resources Agency/Ocean Protection Council

“I think the best hopes for the future as far as climate change is concerned are: 1) Actively anticipating and planning for the effects of climate change rather than passively ignoring them until it’s too late; 2) Policy and technology advances in alternative energy sources that make renewable energy less costly than using fossil fuels.” — David Pierce, Climate Researcher, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

“California’s tree mortality epidemic is unprecedented. However, with disaster comes opportunity and forest health issues have never been such intensely focused on by such a wide range of stakeholders. I am hopeful that together, we can channel this focus and energy towards achieving meaningful, long term forest health goals in our state.” — Ken Pimlott, Director, CAL FIRE

“I have found the utilities efforts to work on adaptation issues encouraging. The Department of Energy’s Partnership for Energy Sector Climate Resilience is voluntary and I have been impressed with the willingness of some of our utilities to step out and put resources and work behind those efforts. That, combined with the improvement in modeling of climate scenarios from California’s Climate Action Team Research Group, gives us the opportunity to increasingly move towards thorough and consistent adaptation planning efforts.” — Liane Randolph, Commissioner, California Public Utilities Commission

“I see hope in the fact that cities are more open to partnerships and collaboration when it comes to addressing climate change. With less silos and jurisdictional turfs, I see increased investments, more value propositions, and smart approaches that leverage new partners and advance economic growth. The era of catalytic solutions to climate change is here.” — Susana Reyes, Senior Sustainability Analyst, Office of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti

“I’m inspired by the enthusiasm of Department of Public Health staff for engaging in climate change work. The urgency with which my colleagues view the threat of climate change and their dedication to addressing it gives me hope for the future.” — Elizabeth Rhoades, Climate Change Lead, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

“Consensus messaging and moral framing of climate change both increase support for mitigation policies.” — Connie Roser-Renouf, Associate Professor, George Mason University

“Hopefully, I will have additional monitoring capability by this Spring to continue to inform policy decisions.” — Terry Sawyer, Co-Founder, Hog Island Oyster Co.

“The passion and skill of the people working on this issue (and the passage of Measure AA in the Bay Area).” — Mary Small, Chief Deputy Director, Coastal Conservancy

“The brilliant, resilient, and diverse coalition of residents across the state that are taking coordinated actions to achieve climate equity and climate justice in their communities.” — Madeline Stano, Staff Attorney, Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment

“Evidence that compost application can enhance carbon sequestration in soils!” — Sintana Vergara, Postdoctoral Scientist. University of California Berkeley

“The management community has recognized acidification as an important issue and is challenging us as scientists to help them develop solutions.” — Stephen Weisberg, Executive Director, Southern California Coastal Water Research Project Authority

“Raising the energy efficiency of appliances is essential to achieve our low-carbon energy future because electric appliances are a growing portion of California’s electricity load. In December, the California Energy Commission adopted first-in-the-nation energy efficiency standards for computers and monitors with support from industry, environmentalists, consumer groups and utilities. These computer standards will ultimately save Californians an estimated $373 million annually.” — Robert Weisenmiller, Chair, California Energy Commission

“Policy leaders and citizens of the Bay Area have identified the threats and approved the funding through Measure AA to take steps to address them.” — Carl Wilcox, Policy Adviser to the Director for the Delta, California Department of Fish and Wildlife

“A new cap and trade program called Transformative Climate Communities, which seeks to integrate our climate investments and build innovative models for greenhouse gas reduction and community revitalization through local, multi-sector partnerships concentrated in the poorest and most polluted parts of the state.” — Randall Winston, Executive Director, California Strategic Growth Council

“LA County voter approval on November, 2016 of four major public investment measures — Metro Measure M for transportation, LA County Measure A for parks, LA City Measure HHH for homeless housing, LA Community College District Measure CC — all by more than 70% inspires me. It means we no longer need to fear asking voters to step up to solve our most challenging problems that require public investments.” — Denny Zane, Executive Director, Move LA