California Climate Risk and Response

This report provides a comprehensive examination of the economic impacts of climate change and adaptation in California. This multi-sector study from researchers at the University of California, Berkeley compiles the most recent available science on climate change impacts in the state, assesses the economic implications, and examines strategies for adaptation. 

Assessments of the economic damages and assets at risk are provided for Water; Energy; Tourism and Recreation; Real Estate; Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Transportation; and Public Health. For each of these sectors, a section discusses climate impacts, costs associated with climate change, the distribution of costs, and adaptation options.

The core findings are:

  • Estimates indicate that climate risk - damages if no action is taken - would include tens of billions per year in direct costs, even higher indirect costs, and expose trillions of dollars of assets to collateral risk. 
  • Climate response - mitigation to prevent the worst impacts and adaptation to climate change that is unavoidable - on the other hand, can be executed for a fraction of these net costs by strategic deployment of existing resources for infrastructure renewal/replacement and significant private investments that would enhance both employment and productivity.
  • At the sector level, there will be some very significant adjustment challenges, requiring as much foresight and policy discipline as the state can mobilize. In this context, the political challenges may be much greater than the economic ones.
  • Despite the extent and high quality of existing climate research reviewed in this document, the degree of uncertainty regarding many important adjustment challenges remains very high. This uncertainly is costly, increasing the risk of both public and private mistakes and the deferral of necessary adaptation decisions.

Publication Date: November 2008

Authors or Affiliated Users:

Related Organizations:

  • University of California, Berkeley

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  • Assessment

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