“It is my hope that the Paris talks will find value in our California goals and build international momentum for a comprehensive solution to perhaps the greatest crisis life on our planet has faced.”
Dearest Grands (Avery, Audrey, Grace, Isabel, Layla, Max) and Great-grands, in 2015, the year of the Paris Summit, the effects of climate change on California became unmistakable. Our state endured the fifth year of one of the most severe droughts in our recorded history. Fires during the summer burned over 800,000 acres. While mudslides and flash flooding were occurring in Southern California, the promised El Niño storms continued to avoid the north and the Sierra Nevada, the source of much of the state’s water.
Governor Jerry Brown set out for Paris with high hopes.
There was reason to be optimistic. The Legislature and the governor had initiated serious and innovative responses to the challenges of reducing carbon emissions and building climate resilience into our communities. In addition, efforts to involve other provinces, states and countries in a common cause were growing.
Our region was the center of so many positive efforts.
Just last year, in 2014, California voters approved billions for local efforts such as water recycling, water conservation, groundwater storage and desalination. Communities were finding new ways to recharge vanishing groundwater aquifers. Throughout the vast Delta ecosystem from Sacramento through the San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean, projects were underway to mitigate the effects of sea level rise, restore wetlands, sequester carbon and enhance ecosystems for birds, fish and other wildlife. The biggest ecosystem threat remains the proposed water tunnels that will reduce the amount of fresh Sacramento River water that is carried out to the Pacific Ocean and on which the health of the Delta depends.
Cities, including Davis, pledged local action on climate change, including carbon neutrality.
I hope that you are enjoying the benefits of our state and local efforts and the Delta region is healthy and the species, including you, are thriving.
During my tenure in the Legislature, California set some of the most ambitious goals in the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. We required that 50 percent of our electricity come from renewable sources and that the energy efficiency savings of buildings double by 2030. These are ambitious but achievable goals, provided that we have the will to make the necessary changes—changes that require strong international partnerships and collaboration.
It is my hope that the Paris talks will find value in our California goals and build international momentum for a comprehensive solution to perhaps the greatest crisis life on our planet has faced.