It’s time to fund resilience measures in every community by 2025
The impacts of climate change are hitting harder and faster than expected, posing grave threats to human health and well-being. Children, the elderly, and people living in low-income communities are disproportionately affected.
California legislation should allocate the needed funding and support to California’s counties and cities to develop and implement climate emergency response and preparedness measures (e.g., as part of their General Plan requirements) no later than 2022.
Priority focus should initially be on the most vulnerable, low-income communities. All California jurisdictions should be implementing resiliency efforts by 2025 including implementing climate-smart ecosystem management, early warning systems, evacuation centers, and comprehensive public education.
In the face of California’s widespread power shutoffs and the rise of dirty fossil-fuel-powered back-up generators due to increases in extreme fire weather, The Climate Center has launched the Community Energy Resilience initiative, which establishes a decentralized power system including community microgrids to serve all Californians —prioritizing low income, high fire risk communities first— with clean, local power and storage. This system will reduce the number of planned and unplanned outages, ensure that essential health, fire, police, food, water, and other services would remain powered in communities during outages, and enable utilities to better target specific outages from the larger grid.
How To Get There
To fully implement community microgrids statewide, our goal is to transform state regulatory policies and institutions by 2022 so that thousands of small-scale distributed energy producers can be compensated for providing local services. We will need market signals, starting with increased state funding, to implement community microgrids at scale. New legislation will also advance novel performance-based metrics for utilities, enabling them to fully support Community Energy Resilience programs in partnership with a range of stakeholders, including lower-income neighborhoods, clean energy developers, and technology companies.
Working with nature using climate-friendly management and restoration practices—such as in tidal marsh, seagrass beds, kelp forests, and our own backyards– we can store planet-heating gases from the atmosphere for long periods of time while also providing resilience against climate impacts such as flooding. Coastal wetland restoration slows down sea-level rise and flood events, filters out pollutants, and sequesters significant carbon.