Climate Change: Adapting to Climate Change

By Published On: August 16, 2013

California should respond to a warming climate by increasing population density along its cool coast and building infrastructure to withstand rising tides, drought, and higher temperatures over the coming decades, insisted an economist Aug. 13. In a talk to the California Air Resources Board, University of California, Los Angeles, economist Matthew Kahn warned that the state needs to come to grips with sea level rise, longer and hotter heat waves, and dramatically expanding energy demand for air condition-ing, as well as more frequent and larger wildfires that will burn though areas with power transmission infrastructure. Citing San Diego as an example, Kahn said climate change is projected to increase the average temperature there by 2050 by 4 degrees Fahrenheit, which will boost peak power demand by 70 percent. The economist suggested that to counter growing demand, state regulators and utilities focus heavily on deploying more energy efficient air conditioning equipment. Future development should be centered along the coast in areas fanned by ocean breezes, rather than inland where it is much hotter. At the same time, he noted, changes are needed to deal with rising demand for water and reduced supply, as well as rising sea levels. In San Diego by 2050, for instance, water usage is projected to increase by 37 percent due to hotter temperatures while supply dips 20 percent. The sea level is projected to rise between 12 and 18 inches. Kahn’s talk followed a California Environmental Protection Agency report earlier this month noting that the effects of climate change already are being observed. Meanwhile, the California Natural Resources Agency has announced it plans to update the state’s 2009 climate adaptation plan before the end of this year. * * * * * The California Energy Commission and Air Resources Board are struggling with the issue of “interoperability” between electric vehicle charging stations and electric vehicles themselves as they weigh whether to commit state funding to developing interoperability standards. The two agencies discussed the issue Aug. 15 during an all-day meeting in Sacramento. At first blush, interoperability would seem to involve only whether the charging systems can charge the vehicles, but charging company executives explained the issues also extend to payment systems, price disclosure, consumer protection, developing applications for smart phones on charging station locations, data sharing, and even scheduling charges, as there may be waiting lines. Fast chargers take 30 minutes to charge electric cars. The agencies are weighing funding to help create interoperability standards in anticipation of as many as 1 million electric vehicles on state roads by 2020 and thousands of commercial charging stations. * * * * * A state court earlier this summer upheld the California Air Resources Board’s low carbon fuel standard, which is driving growth in the number of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles on the state’s highways, as well as natural gas vehicles. In the wake of the ruling, the Air Board announced Aug. 12 that it no longer plans to amend the standard to address issues raised in the litigation this October, as previously planned. Instead, the Air Board plans to amend the rule in 2014 to improve upon it. Currently, it has cut the carbon intensity of gasoline and diesel fueled transportation by 1 percent and the goal is 10 percent by 2020. Meanwhile, the existing standard is to remain in effect through 2014.

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