Sacramento – Environment California marked the first day of summer by urging leaders at all levels of government to tackle climate change. According to scientists at Climate Central, global warming pollution will fuel even hotter summers in the future. Temperatures in California are already nearly three degrees higher, on average, than in the 1970s. Without action to eliminate global warming pollution, summer temperatures here in Sacramento could rise 8.9 degrees by the end of the century. That would make summer days in Sacramento feel more like they do now in Tucson, AZ.
“With much hotter summers in our future, going to the beach won’t be enough to beat the heat,” said Michelle Kinman, Clean Energy Advocate for Environment California. “Grab your phone along with your sunscreen and your water bottle, and then call your elected representatives. Ask them to cut pollution and shift us towards 100 percent clean, renewable energy.”
State legislators have an opportunity now to demonstrate strong clean energy leadership by passing Senate Bill 100, authored by Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, which would accelerate California’s current mandate to achieve 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources from 2030 up to 2026; it would further establish that California will generate 60 percent renewable electricity by 2030 and 100 percent by 2045. The bill has already been passed by the Senate and is under consideration in the Assembly.
According to the California Heat Illness Prevention Study by the UC Davis Medical Center, increasing rates of heat can cause harmful side effects and complications. Extreme or long-lasting heat can overwhelm our bodies’ ability to cool, resulting in potentially severe problems like heat exhaustion. With the peak harvest season during summer and early fall exceeding 90°F and sometimes surpassing 100°F, farm workers are especially vulnerable to heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses.
Hotter summer days also mean unhealthy air. In 2015, Sacramento had 158 smog days where the air was unhealthy to breathe. Smog forms when pollution from dirty fuels or chemicals mix in sunlight. Breathing it can cause a wide range of health problems, from asthma attacks to respiratory illness.
“Here in California, the last thing we need is more air pollution and sweltering summer days,” said Kinman. “We must protect our health by cutting dangerous pollution and moving rapidly to 100 percent clean, renewable energy.”