Saturday, December 6, 2008

Governor tells staff to prepare for warming

Not waiting for the line to get drawn in Santa Barbara, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California, issued an executive order in November for State agencies to prepare reports on the impacts of sea-level rise due to climate change. Here is the text of the order:

Not waiting for the Governor, The New Media Studio and the Donald Bren School at UCSB initiated its own study of the impacts of sea-level rise on the City of Santa Barbara last March. And so, by the time the State is just convening its first conference on sea-level rise, Santa Barbara is going to have an initial study completed and ready to use as a model for other cities and coastal regions in California. The City has been very helpful and cooperative with this study, and again Santa Barbara has an opportunity to take a leading position in addressing the challenges of climate change.

As lightblueline also noted, the expected sea-level rise this century is potentially up to 1.5 meters, which, using a conservative linear estimation puts the sea level up more than seven meter in 500 years.

The point of gathering information about future impacts is to assess the various responses we can make, from cutting carbon in the near term, to hardening the coastline if we fail to stop the progress of climate change. Knowing the relative costs of all the options lets us determine, in purely economic terms, the best path. In terms of keeping Santa Barbara's ocean down by the waterfront, for reasons that include economics, but also include our moral obligation to our children's childen to leave the planet like we found it, there is no substitute for reducing greenhouse gasses in the short term as a world-wide goal. This is where the Governor will soon have help from the new White House.