A bond measure to protect California communities from wildfires, droughts, floods, and extreme heat events could create between 75,000 and 119,000 jobs statewide, and generate between $9.6 billion and $15 billion in total economic activity according to a new study by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. The study, supported by the Resources Legacy Fund, provides a quantitative, model-based analysis of the economic and job impacts of a potential bond measure between $5 billion and $8 billion that reflects recent proposals from Governor Newsom and the State Senate and Assembly.
In November 2019, RLF President Michael Mantell and Cathy Reheis-Boyd, Western States Petroleum Association President, co-wrote an op-ed published in the Sacramento Bee that suggested how thoughtful environmentalists and petroleum producers could collaborate in moving realistically toward a sustainable, non-fossil fuel-based energy future.
Climate change touches the lives of all Californians and virtually every aspect of state government. As California works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it must adapt to the climate impacts that have already begun and build resilience to face the changes to come. To help guide adaptation policies and funding under the Newsom Administration, RLF commissioned a review–including input from an advisory team of California scientists and policy experts–of California’s climate policy and approaches from the last 10 years and developed strategic recommendations for moving forward.
In a commentary published by Inside Philanthropy, RLF Vice President Peter Teague makes the case that coping with climate change, community by community, offers an antidote to divisive politics. Philanthropy is uniquely positioned to cut through the ideological noise to help communities prepare for higher sea levels, more intense heat waves, deeper droughts, and other effects of a changing climate. The December 2018 article is here.
RLF supported and guided AECOM’s creation of Paying for Climate Adaptation in California: A Primer for Practitioners. The October 2018 report describes options for investing in more resilient California communities and infrastructure and recommends ways to overcome the challenges that discourage cities, counties, water districts, utilities, state agencies, private companies, and other entities from making the investments California needs to thrive despite climate change. (Summary can be found here.)
In 2018, RLF supported preparation of an inaugural Climate Justice Report to summarize peer-reviewed research and stimulate discussion on how California can ensure that no group of people disproportionately bears the burden of climate impacts or the costs of mitigation and adaptation. The report, available here, was incorporated into the California Natural Resources Agency’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment,which provides actionable science to guide state policy.
In February 2012, RLF convened a panel of leading scientists to answer the question: “How can California secure its most important natural assets—its vibrant ecosystems and the many benefits they provide to society—given the future that climate change presents?” The result, after extensive peer review, was a set of guiding principles for ecosystem adaptation. You can find the guidelines here.
In February 2015, the journal BioScience published an article that grew out of RLF’s 2012 report. “Adapting California’s Ecosystems” explores efforts to translate improved understanding of how climate change is altering ecosystems into practical actions for sustaining ecosystem functions and benefits. The article, included in the March 2015 issue of BioScience, can be viewed here.
In 2003, with funding from the Goldman Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, RLF helped federal and state agencies purchase more than 16,000 acres of commercial salt ponds and property ringing South San Francisco Bay and in Napa County. From 2003-2013, RLF supported the work of Pelican Media to photographically document the restoration of the salt ponds, capturing the original condition of the salt-making operations and ponds, restoration activities, public use, and wildlife.
Finding Hope in the Moment
April 1, 2020
When I sat down to write this blog, I began by reflecting on the first 20 years of RLF’s work and what the next 20 years will bring. Coronavirus had yet to upend the lives of many outside the Asian continent. Just a few weeks later, most of the country is on lock-down, the economy has imploded, nearly 10 million Americans have applied for unemployment, and the global death toll has topped 45,000, rapidly accelerating.* As devastating as this new reality is, I find comfort in the fact that we are coming together as neighbors, Americans, corporations, philanthropists, and global…