There are just eight working days left in the 2016 legislative session, and the biggest question in the state Capitol is whether lawmakers will vote to extend California’s successful programs to fight climate change. As lawmakers consider the minutiae of bills and are bombarded with the arguments of opponents, it is easy to miss the bigger picture: global warming is a ginormous risk to our state and we cannot afford to let up in our efforts to address it.
To help remind legislators of all that is at stake, UCS is releasing a letter today to state legislators and Governor Brown from 144 scientists, economists, and other scholars urging passage of two climate change bills, Senate Bill 32 (Pavley) and Assembly Bill 197 (E. Garcia).
Pointing to the scope and severity of global warming’s impacts, the scientists write, “Communities across California are already being forced to cope with increased wildfires, more frequent and extreme heat waves, a strained water management system, growing risks to agricultural crops, greater summer electricity demand, and more coastal flooding.” They continue, “We urge you to take decisive action this year to ensure that California reduces heat-trapping emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030,” noting that this target is part of the two-bill package of SB 32 and AB 197.
The signatories include many well-known scholars who do research on the causes of, impacts of, and solutions to climate change, such as Nobel Laureate Mario Molina of U.C. San Diego, Nobel Laureate Kenneth Arrow of Stanford University, Richard Somerville of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Hilda Blanco of University of Southern California, and Daniel Kammen of U.C. Berkeley and Science Envoy to the U.S. State Department.
My colleagues and I will be in the state Capitol today distributing posters of this letter to legislators. As legislators weigh their vote, we hope they will recognize that global warming is already having significant and harmful effects on our communities, our health, and our climate. California must lead the way to fulfilling the Paris Climate Agreement, cutting emissions and preventing the worst of future impacts. We can’t afford to wait.