Climate study released by SD Foundation


Water supplies will drop, sea levels will rise and the air will get increasingly unhealthy in San Diego if steps are not taken to reduce global warming, according to a study released today.

The “Regional Focus 2050 Study,’’ commissioned by the San Diego Foundation, was touted as the first comprehensive, regional assessment of climate impacts for any county in California.

The study was developed by a team of more than 40 experts from regional universities, local governments, public sector agencies, nonprofits and private organizations, according to the San Diego Foundation.

They found that if the region does not act by 2050, the build-up of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere will make San Diego’s climate hotter and drier.

Sea levels may also rise by as much as 18 inches in the next 40 years, putting beaches and coastal communities at risk, according to the study.

The region could run low on water, air quality will become increasingly unhealthy and native plants and wildlife will be pushed to the brink of extinction, the report says.

However, the speed and severity of the impacts of climate change can be reduced if state and local governments act, according to Bill Kuni, chair of the foundation’s Climate Change Initiative Environment Committee.

“Decisions made today about land use and transportation, water and energy resources, public health and ecosystem protection are all critical to managing climate change,’’ Kuni said. “Through sensible adjustments and informed, careful planning, we can reduce and manage the risks we face in San Diego and beyond.’’

The study sets a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent in five years by helping local governments develop climate action plans.