State Spotlight: Climate Change portal

California has set precedents in pollution control for 40 years, but now California's Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB32), the world’s first comprehensive government program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020, has catapulted California into an even greater leadership role. Today, California leads the nation in the fight against global warming, and the state’s Climate Change portal is a window on this landmark campaign to help our planet.

The California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA); the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency; the Department of Food and Agriculture; the Resources Agency; the Air Resources Board; the California Energy Commission; and the Public Utilities Commission, among other state agencies, add research and resources related to reducing global warming emissions to the Climate Change portal. It’s an excellent place to which library workers can point customers seeking information about global warming, “living green,” environment-related news, and more.

Bob Aldrich, the portal’s webmaster, says California’s comprehensive multi-agency site reflects climate change’s effect on almost every sector of the economy. “Information related to agriculture, forestry and urban forestry, transportation, energy (including electricity and natural gas) is there so people don’t have to jump all over,” Aldrich says. The site prominently features an interactive calendar with all the state’s climate change meetings. It consolidates sign-ups for climate change list servers. It links to explanations on what caused climate change, what the state is doing about it, and what new research is happening.

Because its content is so inclusive, diverse web visitors are finding California’s one-stop website helpful. Aldrich reports that scientists, students, legislative staff members, journalists, policy analysts, and curious members of the public have all used the site and liked its information options. The website’s newsroom combines all the state’s press releases related to climate change, a good tool for library workers helping people with research.

Taking action - Cool California

More and more Californians are becoming aware that virtually everything they do results in the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, mostly in the form of carbon dioxide. They want to reduce their “carbon footprint” in their daily lives or, in the popular vernacular, “go green.” The website’s Take Action page is an excellent spot for these people to start searching. Here visitors find plain language tips on saving energy at home, going solar, purchasing green products, educating kids, and even eco-friendly traveling.

They also find Cool, an innovative carbon calculator that helps California households, individuals and communities evaluate their climate-related performance so they can make more informed decisions about lessening their impact on our environment. The California Air Resources Board, the California Energy Commission, the Berkeley Institute of the Environment, the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at U.C. Berkeley, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Next 10 collaborate on Cool Aldrich says the team is “beefing-up” the site, and in fall 2008 Cool will release a new, more advanced calculator which includes additional tools and links to help visitors reduce their greenhouse gas footprint.

“Something we owe our children”

When Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB32 in 2006, he said the law, which requires the equivalent of 14 million cars and their destructive fumes will be removed from California roads, “is something we owe our children and our grandchildren." California’s climate change portal is part of the movement toward that change, toward preserving the delicate environment for future generations. As people who work in California libraries deepen their already superior service to the people of California, they may wish to add California’s climate change portal to their cadre of information tools. It’s good for customers, for the state, and for the planet.

For more information about the climate change portal and climate change resources in California, please visit




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