California is fighting a two-front war: climate change and climate already changed

It’s been 15 years since California passed a historic, first-in-the-nation law to cut back greenhouse gas emissions. In 2006, we thought of climate change as a threat in the distant future. But we’re no longer waiting for our climate to change. The stark reality we face today is a climate that has already changed.

As we write this, our forests are burning. Our neighborhoods are experiencing extreme heat. Our wells are running dry. These are all deadly consequences of a changed climate and its catastrophic effects are rapidly escalating in severity.

Just last year, our planet experienced one of the hottest years on record. We both proudly represent communities in the San Fernando Valley, and our neighborhoods felt the brunt of these extreme heat phenomena. Woodland Hills hit a record 121 degrees last year, the highest temperature ever recorded in Los Angeles County. These extreme heat events will only worsen, as the California Energy Commission expects the state to experience an average of 40 to 53 extreme heat days by 2050.

Our neighborhoods aren’t built to withstand this kind of heat. Just think about our school playgrounds. On days hotter than 100 degrees, asphalt can soar to 150 degrees, and swing sets hit around 130 degrees. These kinds of temperatures can seriously hurt our kids both physically and mentally – a playground too hot means more days spent indoors and negative impacts on our children’s mental health.

This is just one example of the direct impacts our changed climate is having on our neighborhoods. It’s not headline-grabbing like the other natural disasters our state is facing, but deaths from extreme heat exceed that of any other weather events. The mental and physical effects of extreme heat are a public health crisis that’s just as urgent to deal with as the state’s ongoing wildfire and drought crises.

  In South Texas, aging water system meets growing population

We’re in a climate emergency that requires us to urgently course correct. Fortunately, our state’s leaders understand this and we’re taking action.

With our state budget, we directed the single-largest investment in climate resiliency in our state’s history to immediately help Californians who are facing the life-threatening impacts of a changed climate. Our extraordinary budget actions will provide solutions for combating extreme heat, drought and wildfire. We’re delivering for Valley communities and others across California to help them in this fight now.

The budget includes funding for projects that provide immediate relief for those already feeling the devastating impacts of climate change. With this funding, we’re establishing climate resiliency centers in places most affected by extreme heat, we’re helping low-income Californians protect their homes and we’re planting trees to cool both our rural and urban communities.

Urban tree planting is one of the most noticeable and beneficial actions we take as a state. Trees are our best natural first line of defense against climate change. They not only provide crucial shade to playgrounds and sidewalks to protect kids against harmful heat, they also trap carbon and help clean our air. We’re putting millions of dollars toward urban greening because trees are essential in …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *