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The Power of Collaboration

The climate story of the year, unquestionably, is the release of the third National Climate Assessment (NCA) by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, which clearly frames the impacts of climate change in the United States as widespread, severe, and intensely regional. The regional nature of climate change is a is the clearest takeaway, writes Kate Gordon, Vice President and Director of our Energy and Climate Program, in this week’s California Energy & Climate News. I would add one more takeaway, that responding to climate change will require an extraordinary kind of collaboration and cooperation, but a kind we are absolutely capable of achieving.

I’m confident in our collaborative ability because I have seen it. The NCA itself represents a remarkable effort between 13 Federal departments and agencies, 300 issue experts, and a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee. Our own Risky Business Initiative is bringing business leaders together with the global leaders in climate science and risk modeling. I've seen students come together from hundreds of different college campuses to demand divestment from fossil fuels, and this week I saw them win at Stanford. Just days ago we saw what can be accomplished by connecting the right people to the right information with the release of new draft regulations from the California Air Resources Board in line with the recommendations of our “No Californian Left Behind” report that will help get low-income families into cleaner, more efficient, and more reliable cars.

I’ve also seen the ability of thought leaders to come together for a common cause through Too Small To Fail. Such was the case this week as Cindy McCain and Roberto Llamas, who jointly published a powerful Op-Ed supporting efforts to close the word gap for our smallest Americans. And I saw it when Sarah Crow, Associate Director of our Children and Families Program, joined with Jenya Cassidy, Director of our California Work and Family Coalition, California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, and others in Sacramento this week to deliver our research  about the critical need for paid sick days in California.

We know that the challenges facing the Next Generation are great and that they are varied. That’s why we’re working – through Too Small To Fail, through Risky Business, and through our California programs – to connect businesses, legislators, and thought leaders with the most accurate, actionable information available. Once we understand the challenge, together, we can rise to meet it.

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