Adrienne Alvord

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About the author: Adrienne Alvord is UCS’s California and Western states director working to ensure a clean, de-carbonized energy and fuels economy that promotes equitable economic growth and improves public health in western states. See Adrienne's full bio.

A Bad Day for the Climate, But Hope in the West

The conventional wisdom following Tuesday’s election is that national action on climate change is likely to be stalled or mired in partisan political wrangling until at least 2016. The long-sought effort to achieve a comprehensive climate law seems unlikely in the foreseeable future, and even administrative action on climate may be held up in federal budget battles and oversight hearings. For those of us dedicated to lowering emissions to a level that prevents the worst consequences of climate change and worried that time is growing short to achieve significant progress, the election results seem like a very discouraging outcome.

But as UCS President Ken Kimmell has pointed out in a post-election blog post, the results do not mean we should be discouraged or stop trying to make progress—we just need to focus our efforts where they are most likely to make progress. Read More

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Death, Taxes, and the California Drought

Some say the only things you can count on are death and taxes, but in California there’s something else: drought. No one knows how long the current drought will last or when the next drought will be, but we can be sure that droughts will continue to cycle through in California. Unfortunately, many of our water management systems haven’t been built with this basic fact in mind and aren’t being operated to deal with longer or more severe droughts in the future. Read More

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Big Oil, Climate Change, and California’s AB32

As we approach mid-term elections this fall, most folks following politics are interested in how the balance of power may or may not shift in Congress, what new Governors or new legislators may be elected, and what it all may mean for the future of the nation. Many UCS members are particularly concerned about what electoral changes there may be that will influence the future of state and national climate policy. Here in California, we are in the midst of another type of campaign that could have a huge impact in the future of climate policy for the state and region, as well as the whole country: a massive public relations campaign by oil companies to roll back the gains California has made on our groundbreaking climate law, AB32.   Read More

Categories: Energy, Global Warming, Vehicles  

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Connecting the Dots: Drought, Climate Change, and Groundwater Regulation

UCS California Climate Scientist Dr. Juliet Christian-Smith provides this guest blog that celebrates today’s signing of historic California legislation to require regulation of groundwater, and offers some thoughts about the need for climate-resilient water management going forward.

Although California is known as a leader when it comes to climate change, its approach to groundwater has been more reminiscent of the Wild West. Groundwater provides around 60 percent of the state’s water supply in dry years, but it has remained largely unregulated since the Gold Rush era. Today, California took a major leap forward into the 21st century as Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills into law aimed at protecting groundwater for current and future generations. Read More

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On Human Strength and Climate Change: Thoughts on Chavez Day

It’s now officially Chavez Day in the State of California, in honor of his birthday on March 31st. Someone suggested that I write a blog connecting Chavez Day with how climate change will affect farms and farmworkers, and that’s what I set out to do. Science tells us that climate change will indeed wreak increasing havoc on the agricultural industry — heat waves that can and do kill people, as well as crops and livestock; water shortages and/or floods; new plant diseases and pests; and seasonal changes that will affect crop viability. But as I commenced writing and remembered that long-forgotten day it dawned that there may be a more important point about what Chavez represents applied to climate change. Read More

Categories: Global Warming  

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“Courage, Creativity, and Boldness” — A 2030 Target for California Climate Action

Midway through 2014’s very weird winter it might be easy for those of us who understand the need for urgent action on climate change to feel discouraged. A do-nothing Congress is virtually certain not to make progress on climate policy (or much else) any time soon, and international progress also seems chronically stalled. But there has been some good news recently out of the west. Read More

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Water Woes: Dramatic Increase of Droughts in California Is a Bellwether of Future Climate Impacts

It’s now well known that California is facing an unprecedented drought emergency. Governor Brown declared a state of emergency to address the drought last week, and in his annual State of the State message today indicated that the situation we face may be a harbinger of things to come due to climate change. Our California climate scientist Dr. Juliet Christian-Smith shares her thoughts below on what this really means and the kinds of measures the state needs to be exploring to truly address this problem: Read More

Categories: Global Warming  

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Holding Big Carbon Accountable: Response to Severin Borenstein

Respected UC Berkeley economist Dr. Severin Borenstein released a blog yesterday that included at least one point we can agree on: fossil fuels are cheap. But Borenstein missed the boat in dismissing significant new research that traces 63 percent of heat-trapping emissions to just 90 institutions, including oil giants Exxon-Mobil, BP, and California-based Chevron, suggesting that holding fossil fuel producers accountable is a “copout.”  Read More

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Climate Change in California: Ready Or Not, It’s Here

 A new State of California report released yesterday verifies what scientists have been telling us for some time—climate change is here, and it is now affecting the state’s water supplies, farm industry, forests, wildlife and public health. Read More

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Here They Go Again: Oil Companies Trying to Stop Progress on Climate Policy

California policies to fight global warming, reduce oil consumption, and clean our air are under sweeping attack from critics who are warning that they portend an economic doomsday for the Golden State while ignoring their benefits to our health and environment. Read More

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