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Bedsworth L.W.,Governors Office of Planning and Research | Hanak E.,Public Policy Institute of California
Global Environmental Change | Year: 2013

Local governments in the United States have been hotbeds of climate change activity. Recently, states have sought to incorporate these primarily voluntary actions into broader climate change mitigation programs. Using the example of California, a national leader in U.S. climate policy, this article examines the scope for effectiveness of local climate action and assesses factors related to adoption of local climate policies. The analysis draws on two original surveys of city and county governments, designed to learn about adoption of comprehensive policy tools (emission inventories and climate action plans) and programs in specific areas (energy, water, land use, transportation). Adoption rates are fairly high and growing; by mid 2010 roughly 70% of all jurisdictions were already engaged or planning to engage in comprehensive climate actions, up from roughly 50% in 2008. The adoption of specific programs varies with the degree of local government authority in different sectors, and is generally higher for programs targeting municipal facilities and operations than those targeting residents and businesses. Population size, household income, and strong support from local leaders and the public are all associated with higher rates of adoption, particularly for comprehensive actions. Partisan attitudes are more important for comprehensive actions than for programs in specific areas such as energy efficiency and renewable energy, mirroring the findings of state and national public opinion surveys, which find broader support for actions like clean energy than for explicit climate change-oriented actions. Qualitative analysis reveals additional keys to success, including partnering with other local governments and private organizations and leveraging cost savings and other potential co-benefits of action. As states move to incorporate local actions into broader plans, mandates will also play an increasing role in setting a floor for local efforts. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Klerman J.A.,Abt Associates | Danielson C.,Public Policy Institute of California
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management | Year: 2011

Between 2000 and 2005, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, until recently, the Food Stamp Program) caseload increased by half. As the Great Recession unfolded, the SNAP caseload grew even more rapidly. Further, over the past two decades the composition of the caseload has shifted sharply away from families combining food and cash assistance and toward families receiving food assistance in the absence of any other major, means-tested income support. By analyzing components of the caseload separately, we provide new and more insightful estimates of the effects of food and cash assistance policies and the economy on both the change in the composition of the caseload and the large caseload swings over the 1990s and 2000s. We find that the economy can explain a portion of caseload changes, but not compositional shifts. Food and cash assistance policies help to explain both changes. In total, the combination of SNAP and welfare policy changes account for about half of the sharp increase since 1994 in the share of SNAP households receiving food, but not cash, assistance. © 2011 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. Source

Kolko J.,Trulia | Neumark D.,University of California at Irvine | Mejia M.C.,Public Policy Institute of California
Journal of Regional Science | Year: 2013

State business climate indexes capture state policies that might affect economic growth. State rankings in these indexes vary wildly, raising questions about what the indexes measure and which policies are important for growth. Indexes focused on productivity do not predict economic growth, while indexes emphasizing taxes and costs predict growth of employment, wages, and output. Analysis of sub-indexes of the tax-and-cost-related indexes points to two policy factors associated with faster growth: less spending on welfare and transfer payments; and more uniform and simpler corporate tax structures. But factors beyond the control of policy have a stronger relationship with economic growth. © 2012, Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Source

Bedsworth L.,Public Policy Institute of California | Bedsworth L.,Governors Office of Planning and Research
Climatic Change | Year: 2012

A changing climate will exacerbate many of the problems currently faced by California's public health institutions. The public health impacts of climate change include: an increase in extreme heat events and associated increases in heat-related morbidity and mortality, increases in the frequency and severity of air pollution episodes, shifts in the range and incidence of vector-borne diseases, increases in the severity of wildfire, increased risks of drought and flooding, and other extreme events. This article assesses the readiness of California's public health institutions to cope with the changes that will accompany a changing climate and how they relate to strategies laid out in the state's Climate Adaptation Strategy. County-level health offices are the front line actors to preserve public health in the face of numerous threats, including climate change. Survey results show that local health officers in California believe that climate change is a serious threat to public health, but feel that they lack the funding and resources to reduce this risk. Local health agencies also have a number of tools in place that will be helpful for preparing for a changing climate. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. Source

Hanak E.,Public Policy Institute of California | Lund J.R.,University of California at Davis
Climatic Change | Year: 2012

California faces significant water management challenges from climate change, affecting water supply, aquatic ecosystems, and flood risks. Fortunately, the state also possesses adaptation tools and institutional capabilities that can limit vulnerability to changing conditions. Water supply managers have begun using underground storage, water transfers, conservation, recycling, and desalination to meet changing demands. These same tools are promising options for responding to a wide range of climate changes. Likewise, many staples of flood management-including reservoir operations, levees, bypasses, insurance, and land-use regulation-are available for the challenges of increased floods. Yet actions are also needed to improve response capacity. For water supply, a central issue is the management of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, where new conveyance, habitat investments, and regulations are needed to sustain water supplies and protect endangered fish species. For flood management, among the least-examined aspects of water management with climate change, needed reforms include forward-looking reservoir operation planning and floodplain mapping, less restrictive rules for raising local funds, and improved public information on flood risks. For water quality, an urgent priority is better science. Although local agencies are central players, adaptation will require strong-willed state leadership to shape institutions, incentives, and regulations capable of responding to change. Federal cooperation often will be essential. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. Source

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