Climate change in California
California has taken legislative steps towards reducing the possible effects of climate change by incentives and plans for clean cars, renewable energy, and stringent caps on big polluting industries.
- 1 Scoping Plan
- 2 Legislation
- 3 Alternative Fuel Vehicle Incentive Program
- 4 PHEV Research Center
- 5 Vehicle Global Warming Score Labels
- 6 Extreme weather incidents
- 7 Consequences
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
The comprehensive approach includes both new and existing measures in every sector of California's economy.
It includes a series of proposals that would become law in 2012, with some measures going into effect two years earlier. The initiatives include implementing a cap-and-trade program on carbon dioxide emissions (that will be developed in conjunction with the Western Climate Initiative, to create a regional carbon market) that will require buildings and appliances to use less energy, oil companies to make cleaner fuels, and utilities to provide a third of their energy from renewable sources like wind, solar and geothermal power and proposes to expand and strengthen existing energy efficiency programs. The Plan will also encourage development of walkable cities with shorter commutes, high-speed rail as an alternative to air travel, and will require more hybrid vehicles to move goods and people, following the implementation of the California Clean Car law (the Pavley standards).
Several additional initiatives and measures play important roles in reaching the required reductions under AB 32. These include:
- full deployment of the Million Solar Roofs initiative.
- a high-speed rail.
- water-related energy efficiency measures; and
- a range of regulations to reduce emissions from trucks and from ships docked in California ports.
- Assembly Bill (AB) 32- California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 - Pavley, Statutes of 2006, Chapter 488.
- Assembly Bill (AB) 1007, (Pavley, Chapter 371, Statutes of 2005) requires the California Energy Commission to prepare a state plan to increase the use of alternative fuels in California (Alternative Fuels Plan).
- Senate Bill (SB) 812 - Statutes of 2002, Chapter 423.
- AB 1493 (2002).
- SB 527 (October 2001).
- SB 1771 (2000).
- SB 1204 (2014): the bill establishes a fund that will technology for zero- and near-zero-emission trucks, buses and off-road vehicles.
It is the successor bill to AB 1058, was enacted on July 22, 2002 by Governor Gray Davis and mandates that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) develop and implement greenhouse gas limits for vehicles beginning in model year 2009. Subsequently, as directed by AB 1493, the CARB on September 24, 2004 approved regulations limiting the amount of greenhouse gas that may be released from new passenger cars, SUVs and pickup trucks sold in California in model year 2009. The automotive industry has sued, claiming this is simply a way to impose gas mileage standards on automobiles—a field already preempted by federal rules. The case is working its way through the court system. The CARB staff's analysis has concluded that the new rules will result in savings for vehicle buyers through lower fuel expenses that will more than offset the increased initial costs of new vehicles. Critics claim that these will only work if serious reductions are made in automobile and truck sizes.
California standard uses grams per mile average CO2-equivalent value, which means that emissions of the various greenhouse gases are weighted to take into account their differing impact on climate change (i.e. maximum 323 g/mi (200 g/km) in 2009 and 205 g/mi (127 g/km) in 2016 for passenger cars).
A federal district court ruled on December 12, 2007 that the state and federal laws could co-exist, but on December 19, the EPA denied California's request for the necessary waiver to implement its law, saying the local emissions had little effect on global warming, and that the conditions in California were not "compelling and extraordinary" as required by law. California intends to sue the EPA to force reconsideration, given the precedent of Massachusetts v. EPA, which ruled that carbon dioxide was an air pollutant which EPA had authority to regulate. Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, and Washington are also interested in adopting California's automobile emissions standards.
In September 2006, the California State Legislature passed AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 with the goal of reducing man-made California greenhouse gas emissions (1.4% of global emissions in 2004) back to 1990 emission levels by 2020. The legislation grants the Air Resource Board extraordinary powers to set policies, draw up regulations, lead the enforcement effort, levy fines and fees to finance it and punish violators. The technical and regulatory requirements are far reaching. Some of this sweeping regulation is being challenged in the courts. The law is intended to make low-carbon technology more attractive, and promote its adoption in production in California.
Alternative Fuel Vehicle Incentive Program
The Alternative Fuel Vehicle Incentive Program (abbreviated as AFVIP, also known as Fueling Alternatives) is funded by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), offered throughout the State of California and administered by the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE). A total of $25 million  was appropriated to promote the use and production of vehicles capable of running on alternative fuels. Such alternative energy sources include Compressed Natural Gas and electricity via all-electric vehicles and Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV).
Vehicles using alternative fuels include Global Electric Motorcars, Vectrix, and ZAP vehicles. The 2008 Tesla Roadster and 2008 ZENN neighborhood electric vehicle are also on the list of vehicles eligible for rebates under the Fueling Alternatives.
PHEV Research Center
The PHEV Research Center was launched with fundings from the California Air Resources Board. Fueling Alternatives includes, among others, Global Electric Motorcars, Vectrix and ZAP vehicles. The 2008 Tesla Roadster and 2008 ZENN neighborhood electric vehicle have been added to the list of vehicles eligible for rebates under the Fueling Alternatives  .
Vehicle Global Warming Score Labels
California is making it mandatory for cars to be labeled with global warming scores, figures that take into account emissions from vehicle use and fuel production. The law requiring the labels goes into effect at the start of next year for all 2009 model cars, though its expected the labels will be popping up on cars in 2008.
Extreme weather incidents
A 2011 study projected that the frequency and magnitude of both maximum and minimum temperatures would increase significantly as a result of global warming.
According to the NOAA Drought Task Force report of 2014, the drought is not part of a long-term change in precipitation and was a symptom of the natural variability, although the record-high temperature that accompanied the recent drought may have been amplified due to human-induced global warming. This was confirmed by a 2015 scientific study which estimated that global warming "accounted for 8–27% of the observed drought anomaly in 2012–2014... Although natural variability dominates, anthropogenic warming has substantially increased the overall likelihood of extreme California droughts." 
By February 1, 2014, Felicia Marcus, the chairwoman of the State Water Resources Control Board, claimed the 2014 drought "is the most serious drought we've faced in modern times." Marcus argues that California needs to "conserve what little we have to use later in the year, or even in future years." A 16-year study of how precipitation affects groundwater dependent vegetation was conducted and the results showed that the alkali meadow vegetation plant community is groundwater dependent, and that this characteristic buffers the system from the effects of drought. This means that certain plants are actually able to help prevent droughts, but can only do so if groundwater is maintained at a certain level. One of the reasons that the study was conducted was to ascertain whether the Owens Valley region of California could handle any practiced or proposed groundwater extraction.
In February 2014, the California drought reached for the first time in the 54-year history of the State Water Project to shortages of water supplies. The California Department of Water Resources planned to reduce water allocations to farmland by 50%. California's 38 million residents experienced 13 consecutive months of drought. This is particularly an issue for the state's 44.7 billion dollar agricultural industry, which produces nearly half of all U.S.-grown fruits, nuts, and vegetables. This is after the LADWP expected to increase the pumping of aquifers to about 1·36 ×10 8m3 a year (City of Los Angeles and County of Inyo 1991) but the United States Geological Survey(USGS) has reported that a sustainable pumping rate is a third lower, at around 8·64 ×10 7m³ a year (Danskin 1998).
According to NASA, tests published in January 2014 have shown that the twelve months prior to January 2014 were the driest on record, since record-keeping began in 1885. In mid-May 2014, the US Drought Monitor analysis showed that 100% of California was already under "Severe Drought" or a higher level. The 2014 drought is considered the worst in 1,200 years. As California received additional rainfall in December 2014, this was not expected to end California's drought, and trees were at risk due to weakened roots. Experts also noted that due to the soil's extreme dryness and low groundwater levels, it would take significantly more rain–at least five more similar storms–to end the drought. On December 18, it was revealed that almost all of the Exceptional Drought in Northern California had been reduced to Extreme Drought severity, as a result of the winter storms that brought rain to California during December.
In 2014, a study by the UC California Institute for Water Resources was released which found that rainfall has been abnormally high since the late 1800s. According to Professor Scott Stine from Cal State East Bay, California experienced its wettest period in seven thousand years during the 20th century, according to his study of tree stumps around Mono Lake, Tenaya Lake and other parts of the Sierra Nevada. Stine is quoted as saying in the National Geographic Magazine, "What we have come to consider normal is profoundly wet,". This view was backed by Lynn Ingram of University of California, Berkeley.
Lack of water due to low snowpack prompted California governor Jerry Brown to order a series of stringent mandatory water restrictions on April 1, 2015. Brown ordered cities and towns to reduce their water usage by 25%, which would amount in 1.5 million acre-feet of water in the nine months following the mandate in April. However, Brown's water restrictions have been criticized because they have not been applied to California's agricultural sector, which uses around 80% of California's developed water supply.
Expected increases in extreme weather could lead to increased risk of illnesses and death.
From May to September 1999 – 2003, a study was conducted in 9 California counties that found that for every 10 °F (5.6 °C) increase in temperature, there is a 2.6 percent increase in cardiovascular deaths.
2006 Heat Wave
A study of the 2006 California heat wave showed an increase of 16,166 emergency room visits, and 1,182 hospitalizations. There was also a dramatic increase in heat related illnesses; a six-fold increase in heat-related emergency room visits, and 10-fold increase in hospitalizations.
A study of 7 counties impacted by the 2006 heat wave found a 9 percent increase in daily mortality per 10 degrees Fahrenheit change din apparent temperature for all counties combined. This estimate is 3 times greater than effect estimated for the rest of the warm season. The estimates indicate that actual mortality during the 2006 heat wave were two or three times greater than the initial coroner estimate of 147 deaths.
Research suggests that the majority of air pollution related health effects are caused by ozone (O3) and particulate matter (PM). It should be noted that many other pollutants that are associated with climate change, such as nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide, also have health consequences.
Five of the ten most ozone-polluted metropolitan areas in the United States (Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Visalia, Fresno, and Sacramento) are in California. Californians suffer from a large variety of health consequences due to air pollution – including 18,000 premature deaths each year and tens of thousands of other illnesses.
Climate change may lead to exacerbated air pollution problems. Higher temperatures catalyze chemical interactions between nitrogen oxide, volatile organic gases and sunlight that lead to increases in ambient ozone concentrations in urban areas. A study found that for each 1 degree Celsius (1 °C) rise in temperature in the United States, there are an estimated 20–30 excess cancer cases, as well as approximately 1000 (CI: 350–1800) excess air-pollution-associated deaths. About 40 percent of the additional deaths may be due to ozone and the rest to particulate matter annually. Three hundred of these annual deaths are thought to occur in California.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) estimates that under a business-as-usual scenario, between the years 2025 and 2100, the cost of providing water to the western states in the United States will increase from $200 billion to $950 billion per year, an estimated 0.93–1 percent of the United States' gross domestic product (GDP). Four climate change impacts—hurricane damage, energy costs, real estate losses, and water costs—alone are projected to cost 1.8 percent of the GDP of the United States, or, just under $1.9 trillion in 2008 U.S. dollars by the year 2100.
A study conducted in 2009 showed that increases in frequency and intensity of extreme weather due to climate change will lead to a decreased productivity of agriculture, revenue losses, and the potential for lay offs. Changing weather and precipitation patterns could require expensive adaptation measures, such as relocating crop cultivation, changing the composition or type of crops, and increasing inputs such as pesticides to adapt to changes in ecological composition, that lead to economic denigration and job loss. Climate change has adverse effects on agricultural productivity in California that cause laborers to be increasingly affected by job loss. For example, the two highest-value agricultural products in California’s $30 billion agriculture sector are dairy products (milk and cream, valued at $3.8 billion annually) and grapes ($3.2 billion annually). Climate change is expected to decrease dairy production by between 7–22 percent by the end of the century. It is also expected to adversely affect the ripening of wine grapes, substantially reducing their market value.
- 2012–15 North American drought
- 2014 California wildfires
- 2013 California wildfires
- California Air Resources Board
- California Environmental Protection Agency
- Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006
- Pollution in California
- California exodus
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- EPA Rejects California's Greenhouse Gas Tailpipe Law
- Massachusetts vs. EPA, 05-1120 - full text
- Ruling helps California battle global warming
- Text of AB 32
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- California Center for Sustainable Energy : Fueling Alternatives Rebate Countdown
- California Center for Sustainable Energy : Fueling Alternatives
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What’s more, much of the state’s development over the last 150 years came during an abnormally wet era, which scientists say could come to a quick end with the help of human-induced climate change.
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- Scoping Plan
- California Center for Sustainable Energy
- California Releases Plans to Cut its Greenhouse Emissions (EERE).
- California Department of Water Resources
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