by Sheryl Hamlin
The California OPR (Office of Planning and Research) launched its fifth Climate Change Assessment at a webinar on July 7, 2022 hosted by Neil Matouka (email).
The recorded webinar started off with a provocative question: how many attendees knew there had been five previous Climate Change Assessments? Less than 30% responded “yes”. The previous assessments occurred in years 1989 (CEC), 2006 (OPR), 2009 (OPR), 2012 (OPR) and 2018 (OPR). The CEC California Energy Commission provided the first assessment and subsequently all others from the OPR due to legislative action.
Goals for the 5th Assessment (Due 2026)
According to Director Assefa bio, the fifth Assessment will be enhanced by bringing California’s diverse communities into the planning process for climate change, in particular, the use of tribal knowledge into what has traditionally been dominated by western science.
Secretary Wade Crowfoot, CNRA (California Natural Resources Agency) reported from Los Angeles, where he is involved with the expansion of water conservation in the force of the expanding drought. Read about the secretary here: Crowfoot biography.
Secretary Crowfoot made strong statements about how we are all impacted by climate change. Governor Newsom publicly apologized to those affected, call it a state sponsored policy of genocide. This apology occurred in 2019. This editorial by Representative James Ramos explains the significance of the apology. Read here: Ramos’ editorial.
Secretary Crowfoot also stated that Governor Newsom had appointed a tribal liaison to the State’s climate change planning and has returned ancestral lands. Significantly the state planners are using native forest management, including cultural burning/tribal burning, to build resilience against wildfires. The CEC has issued a tribal research grant.
Summary of goals for the fifth assessment: Goals 5th Assessment.
Questions from Webinar Attendees
Amanda Hanson, CNRA Deputy Secretary for Climate Change (bio) took questions from the webinar attendees. Note that most attendees appeared to be interested in grants, jobs, and/or procedural issues relating to potential studies.
Secretary Hanson spoke of the “worst effects of climate change” with an eye to the near future, but was not specific. She also spoke of an “extreme heat action plan”. She said the state had budgeted $80 billion to fight climate change, but it was not sure if this amount was for consults and study or project implementation. Here is a press release on the funding: Funding Fact Sheet
There is a recognition that the power grid requires a rapid rollout of renewables and the grid is in transition for this rollout. Read previous article about the need for an upgraded grid to support massive electrification: https://www.citizensjournal.us/electrification-of-society-requires-a-new-and-smarter-grid/
Questions submitted by Sheryl Hamlin: 1) did previous assessments predict this serious drought, 2) could Secretary Hanson add specifics to her comments about impending effects, 3) could Secretary Crowfoot elaborate on his work in LA for water conservation? 4) has there been a study of the ancient and sophisticated Anasazi tribe whose thriving civilization was decimated by drought and famine.
The State of California Climate Assessment site is: Climate Assessment State of California
The OPR website for the climate assessment research is here: OPR Climate Assessment
The contact information for submitting proposals and/or ideas for research is here: [email protected]
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