Climate Change

San Miguel Island sunset. Photo by Robert Schwemmer, CINMS-NOAA

The effects of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, such as global climate change, sea level rise, and ocean acidification, are projected to cause significant impacts to the environment and natural resources of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties.  These effects are likely to undercut many of our region’s hard-won environmental conservation gains, cause extinctions of local plants and animals, and produce devastating changes to our coastline.  Furthermore, alterations of the weather patterns and ocean systems we depend on for agriculture, fisheries, tourism and other important activities are likely to directly impact our economy.  Climate change will affect us all.

Halting emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is the overarching, and foremost priority to curtail this looming crisis.  At the same time, there is an urgent need to build environmental resilience to these changes, by protecting and restoring habitats and wildlife migration corridors, restoring biodiversity, and developing adaptation strategies so that governments and communities are not caught off guard by the predicted changes. 

EDC is at the forefront of achieving progress in both of these areas.  We apply state and federal law to ensure that offshore and onshore developments do not emit harmful greenhouse gas pollution, and work to support appropriately sited renewable energy production and energy efficiency.  Simultaneously, EDC works with local governments, agencies, other community organizations and the public to advance local climate change impact research, planning, and mitigation.

Helping to avert the climate crisis is integrated into all that we do.  Following are a sample of EDC projects that have directly addressed climate change issues in our area.  You can also search our website for additional EDC comments and studies that examine greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

Ocean Acidification and the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary
In September of 2008, the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council unanimously adopted a comprehensive research report and suite of management policy recommendations on ocean acidification, spearheaded by EDC and completed in collaboration with the Advisory Council's Conservation and Commercial Fishing Working Groups.  This report has been adopted by other Sanctuary Advisory Councils on the west coast, and EDC continues to work with the Sanctuary and NOAA to fulfill components of this action plan.

CINMS Ocean Acidification Report (PDF link, 1.7MB)

Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from an Offshore Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal
In response to a now defunct proposal to import liquefied natural gas extracted overseas to Ventura County, EDC worked with Dr. Rick Heede of Climate Mitigation Services to conduct a first-ever full supply chain analysis of greenhouse gas emissions associated with an offshore LNG terminal.  The key findings of this analysis— that the project would embody one of the largest sources of emissions in the state— helped persuade key state regulators to deny the project.  This not only protected the environment of Ventura County, but set a statewide precedent for the California Coastal Commission to factor in the greenhouse gas emissions of development proposals.

LNG Supply Chain Greenhouse Gas Emissions for the Cabrillo Deepwater Port: Natural Gas from Australia to California (PDF link, 1.8MB)

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