, Volume 87, Issue 1 Supplement, pp 7-20
Date: 22 Dec 2007

Linking climate change science with policy in California

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Abstract

Over the last few years, California has passed some of the strongest climate policies in the USA. These new policies have been motivated in part by increasing concerns over the risk of climate-related impacts and facilitated by the state’s existing framework of energy and air quality policies. This paper presents an overview of the evolution of this increased awareness of climate change issues by policy makers brought about by the strong link between climate science and policy in the state. The State Legislature initiated this link in 1988 with the mandate to prepare an assessment of the potential consequences of climate change to California. Further interactions between science and policy has more recently resulted, in summer of 2006, in the passage of Assembly Bill 32, a law that limits future greenhouse gas emissions in California. This paper discusses the important role played by a series of state and regional climate assessments beginning in 1988 and, in particular, the lessons learned from a recently completed study known as the Scenarios Project.