California Was Warned: But the Effects of Climate Change Are Happening Faster Than Expected

A report written decades ago discussed the impact of global warming – and now, climate change is unmistakably happening, as foretold, but faster than expected.


is one hot topic. In the late 1980s, the state of was warned that too many gases preventing heat and from exiting our atmosphere would eventually lead to floods, droughts, heat waves and fires. Now, these forecasts have become apparent – and sooner than expected.  

Predictions Are Happening 

Research manager at the California Energy Commission (the organization which assembled a detailed report), , commented on the fact that some of the aforementioned forecasts have already been observed. Now, this assessment is leading people to act because they can see global warming is very real, and very frightening.  

One of the policy analysts who worked on the report, , pointed out a feeling of regret over not doing what needed to be done faster. Gary Estes is the person who revived this report, if you will, as he found a copy last year in his garage. He is the organizer for the California Extreme Precipitation Symposium which occurs each year. At this year’s meeting at UC Davis, he decided to discuss the report three decades after it was written.   

You might be wondering where this information on climate change came from. It was put together based off of calculations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as well as scientific studies, and studies by state agencies.  

Perceptible Effects of Climate Change  

Wilhelm presented information at the symposium. Part of the report included an explanation of how carbon dioxide doubling in the atmosphere would raise California’s temperatures and that this will occur if emissions keep rising. The state could see an increase of approximately 3 degrees C. This increase might not sound like much – but it would potentially cut mountain snow cover by 50 percent. There would be more floods during the winter, too. According to Wilhelm, both of these things have begun to happen. Of course, changes in precipitation can negatively impact California’s reservoirs. Remember the Oroville Dam disaster in 2017?  

The authors of the report mentioned how water shortages during the summer would negatively impact farmers, ecosystems and hydropower production. Forests would be negatively affected by fires, disease and lower growth. All of these concepts have been happening. Also mentioned in this report are rising sea levels, poor air quality, and an increase in demand for electricity. The unfortunate reality is that everything has been spot on.  

The was asked by the legislature to assess the impact of global warming trends of the economy, energy agriculture, environment, and water in California, and the report came about shortly after this.  

Global warming is something many are worried about, but unfortunately, not enough is being done. Back in 1989, when scientists were voicing their apprehensions using words such as “greenhouse effect,” many started to become more concerned. This is when a Stanford law professor by the name of , who authored the state’s clean air and safe drinking water acts, realized the threat to the state. Three decades ago, he said the state can ignore science or respond responsibly. Even George H.W. Bush mentioned during his presidential campaign in the late 1980’s that he was going to work to fight the greenhouse effect.  

Many bills were introduced by Republicans and Democrats to curtail pollution.  

A bill – – came to light and most voted in its favor. It is worth mentioning the Senate voted 38-0. This was the first law in America that utilized the phrase “global warming”. Unfortunately, it would be more than a decade before another piece of climate legislation would be passed.  

Why aren’t we making more of an effort to combat the effects of climate change immediately? Realistically, there are challenges and worries about moving away from fossil fuels, and there is opposition. Many have expressed doubt over climate change being real. And the report covered this notion. As a matter of fact, six pages of the report detailed challenges to the idea of global warming – people demanded more evidence of its reality.  

Climate Change: The Time to Act Was Yesterday 

Leaders have spent a lot of time, because of these challenges, trying to do things like improve energy efficiency. This is not enough, though. It is much more difficult to argue that climate change isn’t real now. There is real data verifying the speculations made about climate change and global warming three decades ago. The only real issue with the report is the people who wrote it didn’t realize how quickly their predictions regarding global warming would take place. They thought maybe it would be 100 years – but climate change and global warming are a problem right now – and we must address this.  



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