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Ward, Bennett, Mullin & Quirk Introduce New Legislation to Establish Regional Climate Networks

For immediate release:

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – In an effort to assist local cities and counties in coordinating their actions to address the existential threat of our ongoing climate crisis, Assemblymembers Chris Ward (D- San Diego), Steve Bennett (D-Santa Barbara), Kevin Mullin (D-San Mateo), and Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) are championing AB 1640. The bill would require the Office of Planning and Research (OPR) to develop and publish technical assistance on how eligible entities may establish regional climate networks and how governing boards may be established within those networks.

Our climate crisis is devastating communities across the nation and its impact on California will continue over the next several decades. Sea level rise, coastal degradation, drought, extreme heat, unpredictable weather events, and wildfires have become a regular threat to so many vulnerable communities. This is a threat to public health and safety, economic stability, and the resources and ecosystems that make California the fifth largest economy in the world.

“Now is the time to assist local governments in addressing current and future impacts of climate change by creating Regional Climate Networks,” said Assemblymember Chris Ward. “Providing local decision-makers, stakeholders, and residents the ability and tools to develop their own Regional Climate Networks will create new opportunities for collaboration and the development of effective and cost-efficient climate change adaptation projects.”

“The window for us to effectively act on climate change is rapidly closing,” said Assemblymember Kevin Mullin. “I am proud to joint-author AB 1640 and continue our efforts to build California's resilience against climate change. Climate impacts span jurisdictional boundaries. It’s crucial that local governments work together to mitigate and prepare for climate disasters in their region. With robust regional planning and coordination in place, California can adopt a more effective and comprehensive strategy that maximizes our climate resiliency measures.”

“The climate crisis is causing sea level rise, wildfire, drought, more intense storms, and extreme heat waves,” said Assemblymember Bill Quirk. “These impacts do not stop at the boundaries of cities and counties. For this reason, I am proud to joint-author AB 1640 because it will ensure a coordinated, cross-jurisdictional, regionaleffort to combat these crises.”

“I fully support this legislative effort to establish Regional Climate Networks,” said Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer, San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “Having spent my career working on global sustainability, I am keenly aware of the potential of the green economy to yield high-quality jobs and shared prosperity. AB 1640 aligns with the Regional Decarbonization and Green Jobs Plan that San Diego County is currently developing, as well as SANDAG’s recently adopted 2021 Regional Plan. I look forward to working closely with Assemblymember Ward to make sure our regions have the tools necessary to coordinate our collective transition to a clean, healthy, and equitable zero carbon future."

An eligible entity includes a local, regional, tribal, or state organization, including, but not limited to, a city, county, special district, council of government, metropolitan planning organization, joint powers authority, local agency formation commission, regional climate collaborate, nonprofit organization, community-based organization, tribal government, school district, and higher education institution.

Each regional climate network may engage in activities, such as support the development and implementation of regional adaptation and mitigation plans; facilitate the exchange of best practices among the local agencies and stakeholders; conduct activities to support ongoing coordination and capacity building; manage educational activities; and apply for and administer grants.

"Establishing Regional Climate Networks is essential to ensuring communities and decision-makers across California have the structure, authority, commitment, and funding they need to work together as a larger region,” said Maleeka Marsden, Co-Director of Policy at Climate Action Campaign and Chair of the San Diego Green New Deal Alliance. “This would help to reduce emissions, prepare for ever-increasing climate disasters, and advance equity, health, and safety.”

For questions on AB 1640, or to schedule an interview with Assemblymember Ward, contact Ansermio Estrada.