Over the past 25 years, the State of California has demonstrated national and international leadership in understanding regional climate change impacts, developing strategies for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and developing knowledge to support adaptation to projected impacts. Successfully negotiating climate change challenges will require integrating a sound scientific basis for climate preparedness into local planning, resource management, infrastructure, and public health, as well as introducing new strategies to reduce GHG emissions or increase carbon sequestration into nearly every sector of California’s economy. This Climate Change Research Plan (hereafter the Research Plan) presents a strategy for developing the requisite knowledge through a targeted body of policy-relevant, California-specific research.
The Research Plan continues support for climate policy and enhances statewide research collaboration. For the first time, it outlines statewide research priorities. It further demonstrates state agency coordination. Nearly 50 authors representing 16 state agencies were involved in authoring the Research Plan, which delineates California’s most critical climate-related research gaps. This is an unprecedented effort resulting in the first comprehensive climate change research plan developed by any state.
California-sponsored research informs climate policy issues of unique importance to California. For example, State-sponsored research resulting from the First California Climate Assessment offered new California-specific scientific insights that were not available in 2006 from federal research products and that were instrumental to the passage of AB 32. The recent enhanced support for actionable climate research at the federal level also represents an excellent opportunity to develop a plan that aligns with the national research plan developed by the U.S. Global Change Research Program and contributes to the continuing dialogue with our federal partners. The research needs identified in California’s Research Plan address gaps in knowledge that will help inform the State’s ongoing activities to address climate change without duplicating federal research activities.