California Continues to Prioritize Infrastructure Sustainability to Climate Change Impacts
Thursday, September 24, 2020
SACRAMENTO – California’s infrastructure is under threat from the pending impacts of climate change. A bill by Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) that will require state agencies to continue to account for these climate impacts in state infrastructure projects was signed into law.
“The events of the past few weeks, from the strains on our energy system to the wildfires ravaging the state have only reinforced the immediate need to put climate impacts at the forefront of our infrastructure planning and execution,” explained Assemblymember Quirk. “Extreme weather and other effects of climate change have significant impacts on California’s aging infrastructure. That is why I have been working for years to study and work towards sustainable solutions for our state’s infrastructure.”
In 2016 Assemblymember Quirk authored a bill to create the Climate-Safe Infrastructure Working Group (Working Group) composed of scientists, engineers, and architects to examine how to best integrate climate information with the state’s infrastructure design, planning, and implementation. The bill also required state agencies to account for current and future impacts of climate change when planning, building, and investing in state infrastructure.
“As a scientist myself, I know the importance of having experts lead the way on these issues. The Working Group created by my original bill produced a report to the Legislature in 2018 laying out recommendations to make state infrastructure resilient and sustainable to withstand a wide range of climate impacts. However, their work is far from over,” said Assemblymember Quirk.
This year’s AB 2800 makes permanent the Working Group and provisions in state law requiring state agencies to take current and future impacts of climate change into account in infrastructure projects.
“As the climate crisis intensifies wildfires, droughts, extreme heat and floods, and makes them more destructive, it’s critical our state’s roads, power grid and water system be strengthened to withstand the unrelenting risks we will continue to face for decades,” says Jason Barbose, Western States Senior Policy Manager of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Signing AB 2800 is an important step toward preparing our aging infrastructure for the worsening climate extremes to come.”
“Infrastructure plays a critical role in our lives and livelihoods, and as we spend public funds on infrastructure projects, we need to make sure these projects can continue to function as designed for many decades despite changing climatic conditions,” said Assemblymember Quirk. “AB 2800 makes the Working Group permanent allowing their critical work on state climate adaptation planning efforts and coordination with state agencies to advance infrastructure sustainability to continue. This bill will continue to make infrastructure safer and save lives, taking important steps towards helping California to ensure a climate-safe future.”
The signing of AB 2800 comes after Governor Newsom announcement of achieving 100 percent zero-emission passenger car and truck sales by 2035. AB 2800 goes into effect January 1, 2021.