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Meg Caldwell Testifies Before the California State Assembly Select Committee on Sea Level Rise and the California Economy

Presentation: Preparing for the Effects of Global Warming: The Public’s Perspective

Meg Caldwell's testimony: "Preparing for the Effects of Global Warming: The Public’s Perspective"

SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 15, 2013Meg Caldwell, director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy Program and executive director of Center for Ocean Solutions of the Woods Institute for the Environment, testified today before the California State Assembly Select Committee on Sea Level Rise and the California Economy. Caldwell told committee members that a recent Stanford University poll suggests the California public overwhelmingly supports preparing now for the impacts of global warming (85%) rather than waiting (13%); and that the California public, more so than the general U.S. public, believes state government should take significant steps to lessen the consequences (59% of Californians vs. 53% of the national public) of sea level rise.

In addition, Caldwell said the California public, more so than the U.S. public, believes that adaptation action will have a positive impact on the state’s economy (favored by 52% vs. 38% for the U.S.) and jobs (favored by 60% vs. 42% for the U.S.). She said that Californians are most supportive of adaptation strategies that include: 1) improving building standards for coastal development (62%), 2) limiting rebuilding of damaged structures (55%), 3) limiting new development in flood and inundation zones (53%), and 4) building sand dunes as a means of coastal protection (48%). Californians are least supportive of adaption strategies involving sand replenishment, seawalls and purchasing coastal property to induce retreat (favored only by 30%, 32% and 33% respectively).

The California State Assembly Select Committee on Sea Level Rise has been established to thoroughly review the challenges ahead in addressing the expected impacts of climate change on the California economy. Through research and hearings, the committee is examining the impact of sea level rise on ports and infrastructure, coastal agriculture, parks and other state lands, and the fishing industry as well as examining the existing authority granted to state entities such as the Coastal Commission and the State Lands Commission.

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