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Learn about how the Coastal Commission is responding to California's unprecedented drought

Ocean Acidification

Learn about what increased carbon emissions mean for California's coastal ocean ecosystems

Human activity is contributing to global climate change, which will have increasingly significant impacts on California and its coastal environments and communities. The Coastal Act mandates the California Coastal Commission to "protect, conserve, restore, and enhance" the state's coastal resources. As a result, the Commission must consider climate change, including global warming and potential sea level rise, through its planning, regulatory, and educational activities, and work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the detrimental impacts of global warming on the California coast.

Two additional pieces of California's legislation inform the Commission's response to climate change. In 2006, the California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32, Pavley/Nunez) established a ground-breaking, comprehensive program of regulatory and market mechanisms to achieve quantifiable, cost-effective reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. Subsequently, the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008 (SB 375, Steinberg) further directed coordination of transportation and land use planning with the goal of promoting sustainable communities. Although the Air Resources Board is the primary agency responsible for monitoring and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the Coastal Commission is invested in helping meet the state's goals. The Commission reviews coastal development projects on a case-by-case basis in an effort to reduce emissions and prepare for potential impacts. The Commission's staff meets regularly to investigate and discuss climate change issues and planning related to topics including green building, local governments and local coastal programs (LCPs), smart growth, public education and information, interagency coordination, adaptation to climate change impacts, carbon footprint scoring systems, carbon offsets, cap and trade, and carbon sequestration.

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