- Terry Schanz
- Chief of Staff
- (916) 319-2010
(SACRAMENTO, CA) – With the climate crisis impacting how and where California grows into the future, legislation by Assemblymember Marc Levine (Marin County) was approved by the State Assembly that will give state and local governments tools to prevent new growth in areas of high risk to flood, wildfire, sea level rise and other impacts of climate change. AB 1445 (Levine) was approved on a bipartisan vote of 57 to 16.
Climate disasters and the impacts of climate change on our state have made more and more places unsafe to live. While California’s climate makes it prone to fires, human-caused climate change has caused fires to be bigger than ever before. Of the 20 most destructive fires in California’s history (as measured by the number of structures lost), fifteen have occurred since 2015, including five in 2020 and two in 2021. According to the state’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, by 2100, the frequency of extreme wildfires burning over approximately 25,000 acres could increase by nearly 50 percent.
Additionally, due to severe drought and periods of record-breaking heat, science has shown that climate change will result in a gradual and permanent rise in global sea levels. While California is known for its beautiful natural resources and its housing and businesses along its 840 miles of coast, rising seas pose a serious and costly threat. A 2015 economic assessment estimated that if current global greenhouse gas emission trends continue, between $8 billion and $10 billion of existing property in California is likely to be underwater by 2050, with an additional $6 billion to $10 billion at risk during high tide.
Sea levels along the California coast are projected to rise by about six inches by 2030 and as much as ten feet by 2100 compared to 2000 levels, depending upon the degree of warming we experience. These impacts will only be compounded by periodic increases in sea levels caused by storm surges. The increased risk of flooding will affect businesses, local economies, and both homeowners and people renting homes who are less able to prepare their residences for flood events. Four feet of higher water levels would cause daily flooding for nearly 28,000 socially vulnerable residents in the San Francisco Bay Area region.
“California is facing a climate crisis and a housing crisis,” said Assemblymember Levine. “To address these dual crises, State and local governments must act thoughtfully and factor the impacts of climate disasters on where and how we grow. AB 1445 asks state and local governments to consider emergency evacuation route capacity, wildfire risk, sea level rise and other impacts of climate change when planning future growth. California cannot continue to simply respond to climate caused disasters – we must act to prevent communities from being harmed in the first place. That is why organization like California Environmental Voters, the League of Women Voters of California, the Sierra Club of California and others support AB 1445 and why I am grateful for the State Assembly’s bi-partisan support of this important legislation.”
AB 1445 now heads to the State Senate for further consideration.
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