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Why California Cares About Global Warming
For decades California has been an international environmental leader. From promoting energy efficiency to protecting at-risk habitats, California's environmental initiatives frequently inspire, other states, our nation and other countries to enact similar reforms to make our planet a cleaner, more livable, and more sustainable place to call home.
But as caretakers to the country's most ecologically diverse state, California's environmental work is never done. Led by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles), Democrats in the California legislature recognize that our state must address one of the most important, far-reaching crises our generation will face -- human-induced global climate change.
California has a lot at stake in this battle.
A 2004 study by the National Academy of Science showed that unchecked global warming would cut the size of the Sierra snow pack by at least 29 percent by the end of the century. Flooding due to global warming could contaminate the water you depend on from the Delta with saltwater from San Francisco Bay.
The National Academy of Science study also predicted a doubling in the number of heat waves, like the record-breaking one in 2006 that killed 139 Californians.
Furthermore, the Union of Concerned Scientists warns: “If temperatures rise to the medium warming range [in California] (5.5 to 8°F), the number of days with weather conducive to smog formation is expected to rise by 75 to 85 percent in Los Angeles and the San Joaquin Valley -- areas where the air is already the dirtiest in the nation. This is more than twice the increase expected if temperature rise is kept to the lower warming range (3 to 5.5°F). Furthermore, if temperatures rise into the medium warming range the risk of wildfires is expected to increase by as much as 50 percent, which would further worsen air quality by elevating soot levels."
Our state is blessed with a diversified multi-sector economy. We are enriched with fruitful lands that help sustain a $32 billion industry that generates $100 billion in related economic activity. Unfortunately, global climate change puts many of our farms at risk. Dry spells and increased temperatures will make some of our most fertile lands unusable. One study revealed that unchecked global warming could wipe out 60 percent of the country’s best grape terrain by the end of the century. With 90 percent of the country's wine grape production housed in California, that would hit us hard.
No corner of the state is immune from the harmful effects of global warming, and your Democratic representatives in California have diligently developed practical solutions to once again lead the nation in averting an environmental crisis.