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Climate Change Report Card

A series of new reports detail California’s vulnerabilities to climate change and pinpoint the economic and policy hurdles that need to be overcome to address them. The California Natural Resources Agency and the California Energy Commission (CEC) released more than 30 reports by researchers at the University of California and other academic institutions — 15 of them from UC Berkeley, including reports by faculty members Maximillian Auffhammer, Greg S. Biging, Michael Hanemann (emeritus), and fire researcher Max Moritz.

In a press announcement accompanying the July 31 release of the studies, Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird noted that “significant increases in wildfires, floods, severe storms, drought, and heat waves are clear evidence that climate change is happening now. California is stepping up to lead the way in preparing for — and adapting to — this change.”

At a press conference in Sacramento, Robert B. Weisenmiller, chair of the California Energy Commission, called the reports “historic” and praised the scientists who contributed. “We scientists know that climate change is and will be significantly affecting the state’s energy supply and demand system,” he said. “The research in these assessments furthers our understanding of the impacts…. The challenges are enormous, but certainly this state has the capability to rise to those challenges, and with these types of studies we are going to be prepared. We will use these in the Energy Commission planning … to maintain a reliable grid, but also use this as a way of planning our research.”

Related Information:
UC Berkeley News Center story
California Energy Commission press release
Video of CEC press conference

SMOKE SIGNAL: Babies born to pregnant women exposed to wildfire smoke during Southern California’s 2003 fire season had lower birth weights, according to a study led by Rachel Morello-Frosch, an ESPM associate professor. The weights of smoke-exposed newborns were only slightly lower than normal, but the finding was significant because it showed how increased fires due to climate change can affect health, Morello-Frosch said.