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Governing California through Changes in the Climate




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California, the 7th largest economy in the world, has led other world powers through economic instability and innovation booms, and now faces an historic challenge governing in a time of climate change. 

Uncertainty in rain patterns, wildfire activity, sea level rise and daily temperatures, has already begun. Each of these natural phenomena not only holds strong implications for agriculture, air quality, and electricity generation, but also for our real estate values and popular quality of life.  To continue a major role in the global economy, California government must provide stability in our transportation, hospitals, water and sewage, as well as fire and emergency response.

Controlling Climate Change is to control Mother Nature.  There are no guidebooks and little precedent for this new challenge. Developing plans to adapt is more realistic than trying to control Mother Nature.  What works today for planning and buildings will not work when a rising ocean eroding shorelines also erodes the concept of permanent landscape.  Property seaward of high tide is considered public property in our state, so as high tide keeps moving up to people's homes do those homes become public property? 

Adapting to climate impacts requires comprehensive solutions.  Seawalls for example, merely push one city's problems onto its neighbors.  Overlapping local governing agencies with competing interests require California to counter gridlock by providing the best science on climate impact, standardized information and risk assessments tools sophisticated enough for the job in all areas of our state.

California's landmark Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 aims to reduce emissions and yet California contributes merely 1% toward emissions in the atmosphere.  More significant and comprehensive to the protection of our economy and livelihood is managing the effect water and weather will have on California's sea ports and airports.  Flood protection becomes more significant brought on by wild swings from drought to excessive rain, combined with less snowpack - a trend that will continue.

Investing today's tax dollars to protect tomorrow's residents from climate impacts is not a trivial obstacle.  Over the past 5 years, California's governor has begun to focus resources more intently on adapting while the federal government is just beginning to address policy.  The state Legislature has yet to engage in major adaptation policy. 

The Climate Action Team, led by the California Natural Resources Agency, is moving to address longer, slower emerging problems.  This team defined the problem but does not specify what can be done.  Their research relies heavily on state government groups, but lacks input from local governments and citizens.  After all, even though it is called Global Climate Change, it really is a local issue with solutions requiring regional cooperation and plans.

How will government institutions steer California through this new era of uncertainty?  Unique to California, the Little Hoover Commission, a bipartisan watchdog group, lists Climate Change first on its 10 top challenges to governing California.

Included in their recently released Economy & Efficiency Report are five recommendations.

  1. The Governor should establish the best science on anticipated climate change impacts to help decision-makers accurately assess their risks.
  2. State government should incorporate climate risk assessment into everyday public planning and processes.
  3. The Legislature should expand the primary mission of the Strategic Growth Council beyond mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions to include an equal focus on adapting to the changes.
  4. State government should work with counties, private insurers, wild land stakeholders and the building industry to minimize wildfires and property damage by more aggressively enforcing defensible space requirements in state law.
  5. The Governor should work with key state agencies and other public and private coastal interests to clarify the impact of sea level rise.  A legal framework should exist in advance of crisis to prevent litigation and enable stability as a rising ocean begins to condemn private property on the Pacific coastline.

This is the perfect time to let your representatives know what you think.  Newly elected state Senators and Assembly members were recently sworn in with no aggressive legislation in place for this problem. Whether you agree with the Little Hoover Commission recommendations or not, let your opinion be known.





Placer County News Headlines

$866 Million Budget for Placer County ApprovedThe Placer County Board of Supervisors has approved the county's final 2017-18 budget of $866.2 million, an increase of 6.2 percent from the previous

Free Dementia Training on Sept. 27 for Families of Loved Ones Roseville, CA- The number of Americans living with Alzheimer's disease is expected to triple - from five million today to more than 16 million by 2050 - unless a cure is found

Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk October 8thSacramento, CA - Join the Down Syndrome Information Alliance as we unite for a common cause and raise funds at the 2017 Step Up For Down Syndrome Walk

Roseville City School District partners with Tommy Apostolos FundRoseville, Calif. - Accidents happen, which is why local nonprofit, Tommy Apostolos Fund, is launching its newest program, "Kids' Care Kits."

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Recovery Happens Event in Auburn September 23Auburn, CA- This annual event celebrates people recovering from substance use or mental health concerns, highlighting their success stories

New Social Host Ordinance in AuburnAUBURN, Calif. - The Auburn City Council unanimously passed a civil social host ordinance during their city council meeting.

Versatile Hyundai Ioniq: Has EV and Hybrid modeRoseville, CA - Anyone interested in purchasing the all-new 2017 Hyundai Ioniq better be proficient at decision making

Roseville Gas Price Hikes Slow Heading into AutumnRoseville, CA- Coming off recent upticks in prices, Roseville area residents have seen prices remain relatively stable this past week.

WJU Baseball adds experience and leadership to staffROCKLIN, Calif. - William Jessup head baseball coach Jake McKinley is pleased to introduce the new coaching staff for the Warriors, bringing years of experience and leadership

Roseville Club to Host Tennis Sectional ChampionshipRoseville, CA - The United States Tennis Association (USTA) Northern California Adult 55+ Tennis Sectional Championship will be arriving on Sept. 21-24

Our Most Vulnerable Residents: Expanding Medical Care & HousingThe Placer County Board of Supervisors recently approved two new components of the Whole Person Care pilot program: a medical respite unit that will provide interim care for at-risk clients leaving the hospital, along with a new agreement to purchase housing units


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