SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The effects of climate change are already quite prevalent in the state, as seen by the all-time record-high temperatures and devastating wildfires experienced in recent years.
A new report, released by California state scientists, shows that the effects of climate change are rapidly accelerating in California. The report from the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment found that since 1895, annual average air temperatures have increased by about 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit statewide and cases of heat illness have tripled in the past 30 years.
“Across the state, we live the experience of extreme weather, deepening drought. and deadly wildfires and heatwaves,” said CalEPA Secretary Yana Garcia in a news release. “This report shows scientifically what we know from experience. It is why the Newsom Administration has enacted the nation’s most aggressive climate measures in history to cut pollution and move even faster to a clean energy economy that leaves no community behind.”
The climate measures enacted by Newsom this summer included plans to:
• Create 4 million new jobs
• Cut air pollution by 60%
• Reduce state oil consumption by 91%
• Save California $23 billion by avoiding the damages of pollution
• Reduce fossil fuel use in buildings and transportation by 92%
• Cut refinery pollution by 94%
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The report documented the wide-ranging impacts that global fossil fuel reliance has had on the state’s weather, water supplies, plants and animals, and human health, including tribes. Other findings from the report included:
• The years 2000-2021 were the driest 22-year period in the past millennium, part of an emerging “megadrought” era.
• California’s glaciers have melted dramatically over the past century, essentially disappearing in the Trinity Alps and decreasing by 75 percent, on average, in the Sierra Nevada.
• In the Klamath region of Northern California, spring-run chinook salmon numbers in the Salmon River have flat-lined below 200 in the past five years.