California’s Sweeping Policies to Combat Health Impacts of Climate Change
California, the most populous state in the U.S., is leading the fight against climate change by implementing groundbreaking policies to reduce its health effects. From the smoke of wildfires to the devastation of floods, the state is taking a proactive approach to address these climate-related challenges and build resilience in its communities.
Combatting Climate Change with Policy and Innovation
California is setting an example for the nation with its ambitious climate policies. These include the goal of achieving 100% clean energy by 2045, a cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and strict regulations on vehicle emissions. The state is also encouraging the development of zero-emission vehicles and fostering the market for renewable energy technologies such as heat pumps. These efforts are expected to significantly reduce air pollution, and consequently, the cost of hospitalizations, asthma cases, and lost work and school days by $199 billion in 2045.
Businesses and agricultural groups have raised concerns about the new climate disclosure mandates, arguing they overstep federal authority to regulate emissions. However, proponents make a case for transparency and accountability, stating that these laws will help large companies evaluate their contributions to climate change and plan for adaptation.
The Impact on Oil Companies and Transportation
California’s aggressive climate policies have significant implications for oil companies. The administration under Governor Newsom has proposed to eliminate three tax breaks for oil companies and is making efforts to wean the state off oil and gas. Chevron and Exxon have reportedly reduced their future earnings expectations in the state as a result.
In the transportation sector, Assembly Transportation Committee Chair Lori Wilson is aligning spending priorities with climate goals and resilience in emergencies. She is also addressing the state’s electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, which is a critical component of the transition to zero-emission vehicles.
Addressing Climate Change in Tribal Communities
Climate change poses unique challenges to tribal communities in California. Lack of access to water, declining food sources, and higher rates of diabetes are among the issues these communities face. To mitigate these effects, efforts are being made to reintroduce traditional practices like cultural burning.
Furthermore, Governor Newsom has released the state’s first strategy to restore salmon populations, which have been severely affected by the hotter and drier weather caused by climate change. This strategy includes restoring habitat, removing fish passage barriers, and investing in technology and science.
Building Resilience Against Climate Impacts
As part of its climate change strategy, California is focusing on building resilience to climate impacts. This includes water resilience, wildfire protection, and extreme heat action plans. The state’s efforts to safeguard its population from the rising threats of climate change are commendable, and it continues to set a precedent for other states in the U.S. to follow.