California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment

California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment: Non-Energy Research
Deadline for Submittal is 3 pm PST, Friday, December 4, 2015

The Request for Proposal is contained in two files:

1. California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment: Non-Energy Request For Proposals, which includes a summary description of each project. Available at

2. California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment: Conceptual Sketches of Projects for the Non-Energy Research Portfolio, which includes a full description of each project. Available at

Fourth Climate Change Assessment

California’s leadership in climate change policy is built on a strong foundation of research addressing the impacts of climate change on the state, as well as strategies to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In turn, the state’s research responds directly to policy needs related to safeguarding California from these impacts.

California’s recently released Climate Change Research Plan articulates near-term climate change research needs to ensure that the state stays on track to meet its climate goals. The Fourth Climate Change Assessment is the first inter-agency effort to implement a substantial portion of the Climate Change Research Plan. The Resources Agency, in collaboration with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and the Climate Action Team (CAT) Research Working Group, has developed a proposed portfolio of projects for California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment. This document identifies key research themes, describes specific projects included in each theme, and indicates funding allocations for the non-energy sectors. Additionally, this document indicates how the proposed research portfolio will be integrated with a suite of energy-related studies that will also support the Fourth Assessment but draw on different funding sources from the projects identified here. This document is ultimately intended to serve as the basis for the request for proposal (RFP) to be released by the Natural Resources Agency. The Natural Resources Agency anticipates release of this RFP during the first quarter of FY 2015-2016.

The Fourth Assessment builds on the success of three prior assessments to address California-specific policy questions and information needs detailed below. This latest assessment is being supported through two funding sources, one managed by the California Energy Commission (CEC) and another by CNRA. The former focuses on energy-related research needs and the latter on non-energy research needs. The proposed research focuses on the CNRA-managed, non-energy funding stream.

To receive status updates on the Fourth Assessment, which will include when the non-energy sector RFP solicitation process begins,  please sign up for the Natural Resources Agency climate list-servs: click here.

When energy-sector RFPs are released, they will be distributed through the California Energy Commission’s research list-servs: click here.

The California Energy Commission will hold a workshop on “Selecting Climate Scenarios for the Energy Sector” on February 27, 2015. These scenarios will be used to support the energy-related vulnerability and adaptation studies for the Fourth Assessment. (These scenarios will also be available for non-energy sector research).

To download public workshop presentations for proposed energy sector research click here.

Notice of workshop (Monday December 1, 2014 [9:00 AM to 3:00 PM]), click here.

About California’s Climate Change Assessments

The state has completed three prior climate change assessments. The first California climate change assessment (First Assessment), completed in 2006, began the work of trying to “downscale” global climate models in order to provide information about expected climate impacts at a regionally-relevant scale. Climate impacts will not be uniform across the world, and it is necessary to have climate impact information at a finer resolution (i.e. the western United States, the state of California, subregions and communities in California) in order to craft local, state and regional climate policies and solutions. The First Assessment provided support for passage of AB32 and the development of the Air Resources Board’s (ARB) 2008 Scoping Plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The second California climate change assessment (Second Assessment), completed in 2009, provided initial estimates of some of the economic impacts of expected and unfolding climate risks in the state, such as costs to coastal economies from sea level rise. Expected climate impacts will have very significant economic impacts that may be reduced with appropriate measures to reduce climate risks. The Second Assessment provided support for the state’s 2009 California Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, the state’s first multi-sectoral effort to plan for climate risks.

The third California climate change assessment (Third Assessment), completed in 2012, was shaped by requests for additional information regarding state vulnerabilities to climate change, including: 1) the need to better understand institutional barriers to efforts to prepare for climate risks, 2) risks in specific sectors (water, energy, agriculture), and 3) risks at the local scale. The Third Assessment supported the development of the Safeguarding California Plan for reducing climate risk (an update to the 2009 California Climate Change Adaptation Strategy). The significant advances in climate science in the Third Assessment allowed the Safeguarding California Plan to expand and refine recommendations for reducing climate risk in California.

For more information about the state’s prior climate assessments, please see the California Climate Portal.

Climate science and knowledge about climate impacts continues to evolve and be refined, both through improvements in impact modeling and direct observations of the changing climate over time. In order to support California leadership on climate policies and actions, it is critical that California continue to invest in regionally-relevant climate science that is complementary to local, federal and international climate science efforts.

A fourth California climate change assessment (Fourth Assessment) will provide critical additional information to support decisions that will safeguard the people, economy and resources of California. Among other informational gaps about climate vulnerabilities, California still lacks critical information regarding expected climate impacts from extreme weather events (climate change not only creates new average conditions, but is also expected to create more extreme events such as more frequent and more severe wildfires, and more intense and more frequent drought); a recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey shows that a single extreme winter storm in California could cost on the order of $725 billion – with total direct property losses of nearly $400 billion, of which $20 billion to $30 billion would be recoverable through insurance, and business interruption costs of $325 billion. California also needs to better understand the scope, timing, cost and feasibility of various management options to address climate risks. Accurately understanding climate risks and management options will allow the state to prioritize actions and investments to safeguard the people, economy and natural resources of California.