LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A climate change task force appointed by President Obama was in Los Angeles Thursday to meet with Governor Jerry Brown, Mayor Eric Garcetti and other officials to tackle issues related to a statewide drought.
KNX 1070’s Megan Goldsby reports the task force was created in November to oversee federal efforts to guard against droughts, floods, wildfires and storms related to climate change.
Nancy Sutley of the White House Council on Environmental Quality told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO federal and state policymakers are very concerned about the lack of rain here in California.
“There’s a lot that we need to do working together to ensure that what water there is gets to communities, gets to the agricultural parts of the state,” Sutley said.
State water officials announced in January that California’s river and reservoirs are below their record lows, while readings of the snowpack’s statewide water content is at about 20 percent of normal average for this time of year.
Since 2012, the cost of weather disasters like Hurricane Sandy and other storms has exceeded $110 billion in the United States, according to White House officials.
But Sutley said the White House has taken steps to coordinate with Brown and other state officials to incorporate a climate response plan that will deal with everything from weather forecasting to investment in hydroelectric energy sources.
“[Obama’s] been in communication with Governor Brown, and really directed the federal agencies to work very closely with the state,” she said.
White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs David Agnew was at Thursday’s meeting and said the session was productive.
“This is about the fire we saw north of Glendora. This is about the Port of Los Angeles. This is about what we’re seeing right now with water and 12 percent of the usual snow pack that we’ve had through December. This is about things that people can wrap their head around,” LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said.
The mayor said the task force was about three things: coordination with the federal government, sharing best practices and setting concrete goals.
“California is leading the country and leading most of the nation,” Brown said. “But we can’t do it alone, we do it with others.”
“How do you translate dialogue into action, particularly when there are a lot of competing interests,” CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Randy Paige asked Gov. Brown.
“Not very easily. Talk is cheap, action is difficult, and that’s why so little gets done. But there’s no place getting more done in renewable energy, reducing pollution and confronting climate change than the state of California,” Brown said.
Climate change is expected to be on the governor’s agenda Friday, when he meets with President Obama in Fresno to outline strategies in dealing with the drought. It’s being called the driest rainfall season California has seen in 400 years.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, who also joined the task force, felt it was a good time to quote Mark Twain, “Whiskey’s for drinking and water’s worth fighting for.”
The task force – which is comprised of Garcetti and 24 other state, local and tribal officials appointed by the president, including Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson – is expected to deliver its final recommendations to the President by November 2014.
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