A recent study done by the Natural Resources and Defense Council highlights the best and worst states equipped with plans to combat water shortage and other problems expected to occur from globally increasing temperatures due to climate change. One of only nine, California was given top awards for an integrated and comprehensive preparedness plan that addresses all relevant water sectors and state agencies.
From snow in the Sierra Nevadas to farming in the Central Valley and the beaches of San Diego, water (and usually lack thereof) has always been an important issue for the state. According to the study, California is leading the way on addressing climate change threats.
The entire west coast has some serious water-related problems to consider: water shortage, more frequent and intense storms, increased flooding, sea level rise, increased erosion, saltwater intrusion, and impact on marine species. Thankfully, both Oregon and Washington are likely to be saved as well, despite scientists’ dire predictions for the future.
In California, climate change could put at risk over three trillion dollars in assets and cause damages worth anywhere from seven to 47 billion dollars a year. Fortunately, the Golden State has implemented an aggressive global warming pollution reduction plan, including the California Global Warming Solutions Act signed into law in 2006 and the Water Efficiency Bill passed in 2010.
As carbon pollution continues to change our climate, its wide-ranging impacts will continue to worsen, threatening cities, towns and neighborhoods throughout the country. But many of the nation’s states are ill-equipped to deal with the major problem. Twelve states have yet to formally address climate change preparedness, and 17 have very limited programs to combat potential climate change.
The report, the first of its kind to take an in-depth look at the vulnerabilities that the entire nation faces, found that 29 states –- nearly 60 percent –- are inadequately prepared to deal with the water-related threats of global warming.
The solution? The study suggests every state needs to plan ahead like California–before it’s too late.