Climate change will significantly impact public health in California for decades to come. Action taken to prevent further climate change is known as 'mitigation'. Action taken to prepare for climate change by adjusting to its impacts is 'adaptation'.
What is climate change?
Climate change is the significant and lasting change of our climate and weather over sustained periods of time. There is international consensus that human activities over the last 50 years have altered the Earth's natural climate. Excess production of greenhouse gases and changes to our natural ecosystems (such as deforestation) are contributing to global warming.
Many impacts from a changing climate are being felt throughout California.
How can we prevent climate change?
Climate change mitigation is the act of decreasing the factors that contribute to climate change. One of the most significant contributors to climate change is the rise in greenhouse gases. Limiting greenhouse gas emissions is a common mitigation strategy. California's Assembly Bill 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, mandated the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in California to 1990 levels by 2020.
Other mitigation strategies include:
- Improving the energy efficiency of buildings to reduce emissions from heating/cooling
- Planting forests and tree to remove excess carbon dioxide from our atmosphere
- Reducing fuel emissions associated with motor vehicles
Climate change mitigation strategies can also produce health co-benefits for our communities. For example, improving public transportation will lower greenhouse gas emissions, but it can also greatly benefit public health by decreasing air pollution, reducing motor vehicle accidents, and improving physical activity.
How can we prepare for climate change?
Even if mitigation strategies are successful at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, our climate will continue to change. Therefore, our communities must also adapt to climate change now in order to reduce coming public health impacts. The climate is already changing, therefore adaptation strategies are crucial for keeping climate change related diseases, injuries, disabilities, and deaths to a minimum.
Climate action plans and emergency preparedness
The websites where you can receive up to date information on climate change related activities in California.