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What is climate change?

The term climate change refers to the changes in global temperature, precipitation, wind patterns and other measures of climate due to the greenhouse effect. Scientists are in strong agreement that global temperatures are rising quickly as a direct result of greenhouse gas emissions from human-made sources. Learn more about the science behind climate change.

Source: IPCC

Why is it important that we address climate change through this update?

Climate change is a global phenomenon that is causing major impacts to lives and economies throughout the world. In order to reduce our emissions globally, we all need to play our part in reducing local greenhouse gas emissions. As we reduce our emissions, we also need to prepare and plan for the risks ahead. The Sacramento region is already experiencing major impacts from climate change and will continue to experience increased occurrences of wildfire, drought, flooding, extreme heat, and other climate related impacts.

Downtown Sacramento during November 2018 Camp Fire

How will Sacramento 2040 address climate change?

The City first adopted a Climate Action Plan (CAP) to address these issues in 2012. In 2015 it was incorporated into the 2035 General Plan. As part of the Sacramento 2040 process, the CAP will be revived as a standalone document that provides an over-arching framework for community wide GHG reduction and help to establish Sacramento a leader on climate action.

Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change

In addition to updating the Climate Action Plan through the General Plan Update process, Mayor Steinberg and Mayor Cabaldon are leading the Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change to develop a common vision and set of strategies for both cities to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions, referred to as Carbon Zero, by 2045. The Mayor’s Commission on Climate Change is providing recommendations on overall strategies for the Climate Action Plan in three topic areas: the built environment, mobility, and community health and resiliency.

Other Resources

Want to get more informed about climate change? Here are some resources to check out!

Capitol Region Climate Readiness Collaborative

The Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative (CRC) is a multidisciplinary network of local and regional agencies, organizations, businesses and associations working together to advance climate mitigation and adaptation efforts in their own communities and throughout California’s Capital Region. Sign up for their newsletter to stay up to date on recent news, science, and initiatives happening in your community and across California.

California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment

California’s Climate Change Assessments contribute to the scientific foundation for understanding climate-related vulnerability at the local scale and informing resilience actions, while also directly informing State policies, plans, programs, and guidance, to promote effective and integrated action to safeguard California from climate change. (Hot tip: Check out the Statewide Summary Report and the Sacramento Valley Regional Report!)


Explore the Cal-Adapt tool to see how different climate change-related impacts will affect our community. Cal-Adapt uses science from the most recent California Climate Change Assessment to produce map-based tools and downloadable data sheets in a variety of forms.

National Climate Assessment

The National Climate Assessment summarizes the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future. A team of more than 300 experts guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee produced the report, which was extensively reviewed by the public and experts, including federal agencies and a panel of the National Academy of Sciences. (Check out the Report Highlights for a concise version of the full report!)