Contemplating climate change
October 23, 2008
Climate change in the Sierra may force species to relocate, dry up water reserves, and fuel more aggressive fires in the near future.But for resident of the Sierra, climate change could mean changes in growth and development sooner than that.A workshop this Saturday on Donner Summit aims to tackle both issues with a series of speakers outlining the issues for both local policy makers and the general public.There is no waiting, said Terry Watt, a planner who frequently works with local conservation groups and will be part of Saturdays workshop. We need to address climate change now.Otis Wollan, the 5th district director for the Placer County Water Agency and one of the speakers Saturday, said he will be addressing species migration and fire in the face of climate change.He said small species are already moving up hill with warming temperatures, and studies project trees and entire ecosystems doing the same.If we are smart enough to fix this problem and I think we are we are probably still going to have a 200 or 300 year wobble in the climate, Wollan said. Taking a theological point of view, given this is human caused, what responsibility do we have to the creator and the creation during this wobble? The solution may not be easy, Wollan said, likening it to building a new Noahs Ark.Wollan said he will also address lessening water and its repercussions for forest fire.Another part of the presentation will consider the policy implications of climate change.The California Environmental Quality Act and Assembly Bill 32 will start requiring greenhouse gasses and other climate change-related impacts to be considered in the environmental review of new developments, Watt said.Many jurisdictions think they can wait until the state requirements are complete, but they need to get at it, Watt said. I think the workshop will be very enlightening to the local politicians and public.Other speakers will include Susan Durbin, the deputy attorney general of California, and Matt Zinn with the law firm Shute, Mihaly andamp; Weinberger, said Peter Van Zant of Sierra Watch.Climate change has specific impacts on Donner Summit with four ski resorts and the proposed Royal Gorge Development, Van Zant said.He said Saturdays talk is part of a series put on by Sierra Watch and other local conservation groups.
The Donner Summit Climate Change Workshop will be held Saturday, Oct. 25 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Mount Judah Day Lodge at Sugar Bowl. For more information, call Sierra Watch at 265-2849 or go to http://www.sierrawatch.org.