Mayor Johnson Appointed to Presidential Task Force

KJ-Speaking cropWASHINGTON – In recognition of Sacramento’s leadership in preparing for the impacts of climate change, Mayor Kevin Johnson was selected as a member of President Barack Obama’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.

President Obama established the Task Force today as part of his Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution, prepare communities for the impacts of climate change that cannot be avoided, and lead international efforts to address this global challenge. Mayor Johnson will use his first-hand experience in addressing local climate impacts to inform the Task Force’s recommendations to the President.

“I am honored to be asked by President Obama to share Sacramento’s best practices and develop recommendations to improve the collaboration between the federal government and cities,” Johnson said in a written statement. “Our top priority is the public safety of our citizens today and in the future when the impacts of climate change intensify. Building resilient communities, and the co-benefits of job creation, risk reduction and improved public health that result will be among the topics I bring to the discussion with my fellow Task Force members.”

In addition to bringing more frequent and severe storms, floods, heat waves and wildfires, climate change caused by carbon pollution can also increase the risk of asthma attacks and other illnesses. Across America, communities like Sacramento are planning, innovating, and preparing for the impacts of climate change and taking steps to protect themselves from extreme weather.

The Sacramento region is already contending with a history of floods, droughts, wildfire and severe heat with local impacts projected to worsen over time. Aside from New Orleans, Sacramento has the greatest flood risk of any urban area in the United States. With levees protecting residents along both the Sacramento and American Rivers, work to plan, finance and construct levee improvements is among the top priorities for Mayor Johnson and the Sacramento City Council. The damage to both the urban area and the rural agricultural economy in the region is predicted to intensify with more severe storms, less water storage via snow pack in the Sierras and rising sea level in the Delta.

The region also faces a much longer summer season with high temperatures over many days with warm temperatures overnight. This puts the elderly and those with air conditioning at risk to adverse health effects and does not allow equipment including power generation infrastructure the chance to cool down overnight.

As the Chair of the Resilient Communities of America campaign and through local initiatives, Mayor Johnson has recognized that action is needed by cities to boost resiliency and adapt to the impacts of climate change. His efforts to lobby for funding to strengthen the region’s levees is bringing a more secure future to Sacramento. His work to support financing for building retrofits to reduce carbon pollution, and energy and water use are creating jobs and expanding the green economy while reducing demand during heat waves and drought. Technologies to convert food waste to renewable natural gas are reducing methane generated by organics in landfills, providing a more energy secure future and producing a zero net emission fuel to be used by the City of Sacramento fleet, recently named the greenest government fleet in the U.S.

The Federal Government can support local resilience efforts by promoting investments that bolster preparedness, strengthening critical infrastructure and public resources, supporting science and research on local climate impacts, and ensuring that Federal operations and facilities continue to protect and serve Americans in a changing climate.

The State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience will develop recommendations for the President on how the Federal Government can best support state, local and tribal leaders in their efforts to prepare for the impacts of climate change. This will include recommendations for removing Federal barriers to resilient investments, modernizing Federal grant and loan programs to better support local priorities, developing the information and tools we need to prepare our communities, and other relevant measures.

More information on the Task Force on Climate Preparedness is available at:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/resilience/taskforce