Fourth California Climate Change Assessment

BECI leads 17 research projects on climate adaptation and resilience

Communities and ecosystems worldwide are already shouldering the effects of climate change. Rising sea levels are displacing residents of some coastal regions and islands, including Native Americans along Louisiana’s coasts. Extreme weather events, like Hurricane Sandy, are increasingly common. In California, where more than a million people could be affected by sea level rise, a persistent five-year drought has people worried about the state’s drinking water supplies and agricultural sector, even as the lack of rainfall and snowpack combined with historic high temperatures trigger more and increasingly extreme wildfires each year. Just as research-driven policy must help us mitigate the emissions that exacerbate global climate change, so must it enable us to prepare for and thrive as the new normal unfolds here in California.

David Ackerly (left), Professor in UC Berkeley's Department of Integrative Biology, is co-leading with Adina Merenlender the "Migration Corridors as Adaptation to Climate Change: Why, How, and What Next" project of the California Fourth Climate Change Assessment. (Photo credit: Peggy Skorpinski)

David Ackerly (left), Professor in UC Berkeley’s Department of Integrative Biology, is co-leading with Adina Merenlender the “Migration Corridors as Adaptation to Climate Change: Why, How, and What Next” project of the California Fourth Climate Change Assessment. (Photo credit: Peggy Skorpinski)

Operating at the intersection of Science & Technology, Policy, and Business, the Berkeley Energy & Climate Institute (BECI) is particularly well equipped to facilitate and manage 17 research projects for the Fourth California Climate Change Assessment under a $5 million agreement with the California Natural Resources Agency. These projects are focused primarily on investigating ways to help California communities and ecosystems adapt and build resilience in the face of climate change, and fall under seven key themes:

1. Climate Change, Habitat, and Wildfires: Impacts and Management Options

2. California’s Working Lands: Carbon Sequestration for Adaptation and Mitigation

3. Sea-Level Rise, California’s Coast and Ocean Ecosystems

4. Water Security and Long Droughts

5. Forecasting to Support Climate-Resilient Decision-making

6. Preparing for Emergency Management in a Changing Climate

7. Funding and Implementing Adaptation Projects and Measures in California

By facilitating strategic collaborations between the world-class researchers at UC, other world-class universities, non-profits, and industry, BECI can uniquely address these pressing climate challenges.

“Even the best scientific and technological solutions can only gain traction in a receptive political, social, legal, and economic environment,” says BECI Director Paul Wright, who, as Principal Investigator, is providing project leadership and oversight. “The Fourth Climate Change Assessment is an ideal project that leverages BECI’s unique capacity to connect cutting-edge expertise with timely research and initiatives that inform California policymakers’ ability to craft and implement research-driven climate change adaptation and mitigation policies beneficial in this state and beyond.”

Researchers interested in leading one of the 17 specific projects under the proposed seven key research themes submitted proposals to BECI in early 2016, and winning applicants have been identified for each project.

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