To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Officials urge Californians to prepare for climate change


By Steve Scauzillo, February 12, 2014


 The trickle of the San Gabriel River in the Angeles National Forest just south of San Gabriel Dam on Friday, Feb. 7, 2014 shows the effects of the prolonged drought.

LOS ANGELES >> Like saving for retirement or hoarding food and water for The Big One, Californians should get ready for the effects of global climate change, state and federal policymakers said Wednesday.

Among the potential changes discussed at The Autry Museum: severe weather, droughts, floods, rising sea levels, travel delays, hotter inland temperatures, even something as odd as the loss of the spring season.

With those potential changes in the future, representatives of Gov. Jerry Brown and President Barack Obama spoke about incorporating a climate response plan into every level of government, from road building to hydroelectric energy to weather forecasting.

The ongoing statewide drought may be a precursor of things to come.

Though droughts are cyclical, climate change adds to their intensity, panelists said. The drought will not usher in rationing in the most cities this year but will damage crops in the Central Valley, California’s bread basket, said Jeffrey Kightlinger, general manager of Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the largest water wholesaler in the nation.

“We may fallow over a million acres of land this year. That is stunning,” he said. “There are dust issues and fire issues. Seventeen cities may have to truck in water. This is a tough, tough year, People need to have sympathy for what is going on outside of our area,” he said.

Meanwhile, the state dusted off a 2009 plan this week by releasing an updated report, “Safeguarding California: Reducing Climate Risks,” said Ann Chan, deputy secretary for climate and energy at the California Natural Resources Agency.

The state plan lists possible effects of climate change on water quantity and quality, declining snowpack, loss of hydroelectric power and damage to California’s iconic seashore.

 “It is pretty stark,” Chan said. “We are in a pretty significant drought now. We are definitely trending in all directions that our predictions have shown.”

The president’s task force on climate change will be meeting in Los Angeles Thursday, with Mayor Eric Garcetti and Brown, to come up with recommendations for what kind of projects deserve federal funding, said Michael Boots, chief of staff at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
“The evidence is clear. Climate change is increasing the intensity of storms, heat waves and wildfires as well as the public health impacts,” he told the audience.

The president has released $34  million in funding to state agencies to help farmers and cities suffering from the effects of the prolonged drought.

Effects of climate change will worsen in the next 20 or 30 years, many scientists predict.
Flooding due to sea level rises will hit coastal areas more often and with greater intensity, said Phyllis Grifman, director of the USC Sea Grant program. Grifman and other scientists from USC released a study last month to help leaders in Los Angeles prepare for oceanic effects of climate change.
Residents of Venice, Wilmington and San Pedro are among the most vulnerable because these communities have more low-income families and renters who are less able to make home modifications, Grifman said.

The city of Los Angeles must work with Los Angeles County, which manages the beaches, to protect the L.A. shoreline. The agencies must work together to determine how high to build berms to protect property, she said.

 New York City is measuring the banks of the Hudson and East rivers for new sea walls, while Philadelphia is installing permeable streets to allow stormwater to percolate into underground wells instead of draining to the sea, Boots said.

Studies estimate a 55-inch sea level rise when combined with a 100-year storm will cause $100  billion in property damage along California’s coast, Chan said.

By getting government and residents prepared for the inevitable effects of climate change, it will save the Federal Emergency Management Agency money in the long run.

“Each dollar spent in preparing for a natural disaster is worth $4 on the back end,” Chan said.
Jonathan Parfrey, executive director of Climate Resolve, an L.A.-based environment group, advocates a grass-roots effort for conserving water and reducing greenhouse gases. He began a “Cool Streets” program in L.A. that adds reflectors to asphalt and was the founder of CicLAvia, a bicycling event.

He said the Congress and most other states besides California are not working on preventing climate change. Even preachy messages from Al Gore aren’t effective, he said.

“I love Al Gore and Bill McKibben, but they are talking about polar bears,” he told the group. “We need to make climate change relevant in people’s lives. We have to bring it home,” Parfrey said.