Commentary: Climate change has many facets

This editorial appeared in The Fresno Bee.

California has taken the lead on efforts to reduce greenhouse gases as part of a climate change strategy. We are a state that's vulnerable to floods and drought, and we must be ready to adapt if a warming world adds to those problems.

Scientists say increasing world temperatures could lead to sea levels rising, and that could flood parts of the San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Heat waves could become more frequent, and that could tax the power grid like never before.

There will also be increasing impacts on agriculture, and snow will fall less reliably in the Sierra, adding to water shortages. Erosion will increasingly threaten houses and roads built on fragile coastal bluffs.

None of these impacts will occur overnight, and California has time to prepare for the possibilities. The decisions the state makes now – such as the height of bridges in coastal areas and development in flood plains and fire zones – need to reflect future uncertainties. Some of these challenges were summed up in a report by the Public Policy Institute of California.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Fresno Bee.