Global climate change is the fundamental challenge of the twenty-first century. A flood of recent scientific reports indicate that changes are occurring much more rapidly than most climate models had projected. From diminishing snowpack to new wildfire risks, the effects of global climate change are being felt today, yet we have done little to increase the resiliency of our communities and ecosystems.

That’s why we’re taking action now.

PCL’s Climate Change Program works throughout California to create an informed and engaged constituency that addresses the challenges at all levels of government. We bring our expertise to the Capitol and state agencies by promoting sound policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in land use and water management decisions. We’re also helping national, state, and local leaders reshape their policies to respond to emerging climate hazards in ways that protect our environment, enhance social equity, and strengthen our economy.

Local Climate Action Initiative

Through our Local Climate Action Initiative we’re empowering community leaders to help their local and regional governments adopt policies that reduce the carbon footprint of new developments and successfully implement new statewide legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This Initiative provides local workshops, regional summits, consultations, and a toolkit that includes policy recommendations and examples of successful community campaigns. Learn more.

Teaming with Wildlife

The PCL Foundation leads the California contingent of this national coalition of more than 6,200 organizations. Coalition members have recently launched a new initiative to incorporate global climate change into California’s Wildlife Action Plan and secure sufficient funding to dramatically expedite its implementation.

Water Policy

Scientists are finding that water resources of the western United States, including California, will be significantly impacted by climate change. PCL is actively involved in water policy in California. Read about climate change and water policy.

Land Use and Transportation

Bart Metro Rail

California has taken bold steps to address the challenge of global climate change that include the passage of AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which requires the state’s total greenhouse gas emissions to decrease to 1990 levels by 2020. This is the first step towards deeper reductions in the decades ahead.

However, the promise of AB 32 continues to be eroded each day that local, state, and national leaders take a “wait and see” approach to global warming and proceed with business as usual decision making. This is particularly apparent with regard to California’s land use and development practices. As public agencies approve and invest in sprawl developments and car-centered transportation infrastructure, it becomes increasingly difficult to change course. Read PCL’s fact sheet on climate change and CEQA.

Rather than shifting to climate-friendly development patterns that are dense, vibrant, resource-efficient, and provide public transportation and bicycle/ pedestrian opportunities, Californians are increasingly locked into high emission lifestyles where getting in the car is the only viable option for meeting most basic needs. Conversely, PCL helped ensure the passage of the Rail Bond Act (Prop. 116). We are engaged in ongoing work for a sensible High Speed Rail project that will reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions and promote smarter growth without unduly impacting our natural resources, key agricultural lands or local communities.

By rising to the challenge we’ll not only avoid projected climate impacts, we’ll also make our communities healthier places, make our economy more robust, and improve our quality of life.