The Future is Now: An Update on Climate Change Science Impacts and Response Options for California
This report presents an interim summary of the latest in climate change science and outlines recommended response options for decision makers in California. This document contains four key messages:
- Observed changes in temperature, sea level, precipitation regime, fire frequency, and agricultural and ecological systems reveal that California is already experiencing the measurable effects of climate change.
- Scientific confidence in attributing climate change to human activities has increased since the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), which was recently made available by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
- New scientific studies suggest that the climatic and hydrologic changes already experienced in California are due to human activity.
- Unmitigated climate change will lead to grave consequences for California’s economy and ecosystems. Furthermore, it appears that even a scenario that drastically curtails emissions of greenhouse gases may still lead to undesirable trends in warming and sea‐level rise.
A rapid two‐pronged response to climate that which encompasses both mitigation and adaptation has the potential to promote innovative invesment by businesses and protect environmental quality while increasing community preparedness and capacity to cope with change. Conversely, a path of inaction exposes a community’s vulnerability to climate variability and is ultimately costly.