The California Climate Change Centre has just released Our Changing Climate 2012 the third major assessment on climate change exploring local and statewide vulnerabilities to climate change, highlighting opportunities for taking concrete actions to reduce climate-change impacts.

Of note to British Columbians is the transportation corridors vulnerability map on page 10, showing a number of critical transportation routes (rail and highway) that run through Metro Vancouver, some of which are in the flood plain.

Our Changing Climate 2012 highlights important new insights and data, using probabilistic and detailed climate projections and refined topographic, demographic and land use information.

The findings include:

  • The state’s electricity system is more vulnerable than was previously understood.
  • The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is sinking, putting levees at growing risk.
  • Wind and waves, in addition to faster rising seas, will worsen coastal flooding.
  • Animals and plants need connected “migration corridors” to allow them to move to more suitable habitats to avoid serious impacts.
  • Native freshwater fish are particularly threatened by climate change.
  • Minority and low-income communities face the greatest risks from climate change.
  • There are effective ways to prepare for and manage climate change risks, but local governments face many barriers to adapting to climate change; these can be addressed so that California can continue to prosper.