Sunday, July 4, 2010

Climate change is a hot issue in San Luis Obispo County

David Sneed in San Luis (California): San Luis Obispo County is emerging as a state leader in the effort to prepare for the effects of global climate change. Armed with $105,000 in grant money, the county, along with all seven of its cities, has embarked on a yearlong effort to understand what effects climate change will have on the county and what can be done to lessen or prepare for them.

“I feel that this is one of the most important issues facing not only the country but the world,” said San Luis Obispo City Councilwoman Jan Marx, one of the local leaders of the effort. “We need to be clear about the possible consequences.”

The impacts could be direct and local — from harming agriculture and tourism to worsening droughts and hurting water supplies. A daylong workshop to discuss climate change will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. July 14 at the Embassy Suites in San Luis Obispo. The purpose is to bring the public into the process. More than 100 people are expected.

“The next step is to hear from residents about what they think is important and what their ideas are,” Marx said. San Luis Obispo is one of only two counties in the state to undertake such a systematic look at climate change adaptation. The other is Fresno County.

The effort examines six key areas of the economy: water, health, infrastructure, agriculture, coastal marine and tourism. The Local Government Commission, the National Center for Conservation Science and Policy and the Kresge Foundation are providing funding and technical assistance.

….According to a report from UC Berkeley, reacting to climate-caused disasters such as extreme weather, sea level rise and wildfires will cost the state from $300 million to $3.9 billion each year this century. Taking action to limit and prepare for climate change can reduce those costs greatly, Corbett said….

San Luis Obispo's San Luis Mountain as seen from Bishop's Peak. A montage of two photos taken in September 2006 and March 2007 by Leif Arne Storset. Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License

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