Governor Brown Issues Statement on New Scientific Research Linking Climate Change and California’s Drought


SACRAMENTO – As wildfires burn across the Southwest and the drought stretches on, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued the following statement after new research from Columbia University, University of Idaho and NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies scientists linked climate change to current and future drought conditions in California:

“New scientific reports now make it crystal clear that climate change is already affecting California and the Southwest in the form of higher temperatures and a more devastating drought. It’s time for Republicans, foot-dragging corporations and other deniers to wake up and take sensible action before it’s too late.”

The report, titled “Contribution of anthropogenic warming to California drought during 2012-2014,” was published in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters.

This research comes on the heels of a report released yesterday by the California Department of Water Resources and NASA that found increased groundwater pumping during drought conditions is causing land in the San Joaquin Valley to sink at an accelerated rate, putting infrastructure at growing risk of damage.

Earlier this month, Governor Brown penned an open letter to Republican presidential candidates ahead of their first debate, asking them to detail their plans to address climate change.

California Leading on Climate Change

As the clock ticks for national governments to reach a deal to reduce harmful emissions ahead of this year’s United Nations Climate Change conference in Paris, Governor Brown continues to focus on building and broadening collaboration amongst cities, states and provinces, at the “subnational level.” To that end, the Governor traveled to the Vatican last month to participate in a symposium on climate change hosted by the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences and to Toronto, Canada for the Climate Summit of the Americas to call on cities, states and provinces to join California in the fight.

At the summit in Toronto, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard signed the “Under 2 MOU,” a first-of-its-kind agreement amongst states and provinces around the world to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius – the warming threshold at which scientists say there will likely be catastrophic climate disruptions. Since the agreement was first signed at a Sacramento ceremony in May, other states and provinces joined in June and July and with the addition of Quebec, a total of 18 signatories in nine countries and four continents have committed to action, collectively representing more than $5.3 trillion in GDP and 130 million people.

Earlier this year, Governor Brown issued an executive order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 – the most ambitious target in North America and consistent with California’s existing commitment to reduce emissions 80 percent under 1990 levels by 2050. The Under 2 MOU builds on other international climate change pacts with leaders from Mexico, China, North America, Japan, Israel and Peru. Governor Brown also helped convene hundreds of world-renowned researchers and scientists to issue a groundbreaking call to action – called the consensus statement – which translates key scientific climate findings from disparate fields into one unified document.

In his inaugural address this year, Governor Brown announced that within the next 15 years, California will increase from one-third to 50 percent the electricity derived from renewable sources; reduce today’s petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent; double the efficiency savings from existing buildings and make heating fuels cleaner; reduce the release of methane, black carbon and other potent pollutants across industries; and manage farm and rangelands, forests and wetlands so they can store carbon. The impacts of climate change are already being felt in California and will disproportionately impact the state’s most vulnerable populations.