Climate change in California is being tackled with both mitigation (Global Warming Solutions Act 2006, California Environmental Quality Act) and adaptation (Executive Order S-13-08) strategies. Both approaches rely heavily on ecological research and scientific knowledge. I begin with a general overview of the existing climate policies in California in the context of the state’s natural resource base and its human dependencies. I then move to concepts of climate policy development in the face of uncertainty: How can policy be designed to interact appropriately with the uncertainties inherent in climate mitigation and adaptation? How can ecologists report uncertainty so that policy makers can decide courses of action?
These questions will be taken to a wide range of natural resource agency leaders with roles in climate policy development. I incorporate professional experience in the mitigation strategies of the California Air Resources Board and interviews with leaders developing adaptation approaches. I conclude with examples of specific areas where ecological expertise is needed to help move policy forward.