Global Warming and a clean energy future

Securing a future for birds in a changing climate

Allen's Hummingbird. Photo: David Levinson

Global warming is a serious threat to California birds. A seven-year study from the National Audubon Society released in September 2014 finds that global warming threatens the survival of 170 California species in the coming decades. This includes iconic California birds such as the Brown Pelican, Allen’s Hummingbird, Yellow-billed Magpie, and many others. These are birds that all of us know well from our backyards and from our own experiences in California’s beautiful outdoors. 

Audubon California is addressing this challenge by protecting the habitats that we know birds will need now and into the future, and doing what we can to lessen the severity of global warming. We’ll do this work with a variety of partners on the ground and in the halls of the State Capitol and Washington, D.C.

But we won’t be able to rise to this challenge without the involvement of California residents who care about birds. We need people not only to join us in this important work, but to also raise their voices to call for meaningful policy and legislative action on global warming.

More about the Audubon study.

Audubon analyzed more than 40 years of historical North American climate data and millions of historical bird records from the U.S. Geological Survey’s North American Breeding Bird Survey and the Audubon Christmas Bird Count to understand the links between where birds live and the climatic conditions that support them. Of 588 bird species examined in the study, 314 species are considered at-risk. Hundreds of species not previously considered at risk will be challenged to survive in a climate-changed future. Understanding those links then allows scientists to project where birds are likely to be able to survive – and not survive – in the future. Learn more about the study.

California's climate threatened and endangered birds
Global Warming

California's climate threatened and endangered birds

Of the 314 North American birds identified by Audubon as either climate threatened or climate endangered, more than 170 commonly occur in California.

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Birds suffer from air pollution, just like we do
Audublog

Air pollution is a direct threat to birds

Many of the same emissions that drive climate change pose direct health problems for bird populations.

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Global warming stories
Global Warming

Global warming stories

We asked people to talk about their favorite birds and global warming.

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Protecting nesting Western and Clark's Grebes

Protecting nesting Western and Clark's Grebes

Audubon California in 2010 launched an ambitious project to protect breeding Western and Clark’s Grebes at four lakes in Northern California.

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Black Oystercatcher and global warming
Global Warming

Black Oystercatcher and global warming

Black Oystercatchers face an uncertain future in a changing climate.

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Allen's Hummingbird and global warming
Birds

Allen's Hummingbird

The Allen's Hummingbird is one of California's most popular birds.

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Yellow-billed Magpie and global warming
Birds

Yellow-billed Magpie and global warming

The Yellow-billed Magpie could lose a large part of its range unless we address global warming.

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Long-billed Curlew and global warming
Birds

Long-billed Curlew

The Long-billed Curlew is North America's largest shorebird.

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Sonoma Creek enhancement
Sonoma Creek restoration

Sonoma Creek restoration

Audubon California and its partners are bringing back 400-acres of wetland habitat in San Pablo Bay for the benefit of a variety of birds, including the endangered Ridgeway's Rail.

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Protecting the Western Snowy Plover

Protecting the Western Snowy Plover

This site is devoted to the protection and recovery of the Western Snowy Plover, a small, rare, and threatened shorebird that makes its home on certain beaches on the Pacific coast.

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Recent News

New climate legislation introduced

Smog over downtown Los Angeles. Photo: Ben Amstutz/flickr creative commons

Not long ago, we talked about the bigger climate bills being considered by the California State Legislature. Well, add another one to the list. Senate Bill 775, authored by Sen. Bob Wieckowski, will go beyond simply re-authorizing California's cap-and-trade system. This bill will re-imagine key parts of the cap-and-trade program, and offer financial "dividends" to residents. One of the main goals is to do something for communities that have long suffered the burden of air pollution. The entirety of the legislations is well-explained in this piece by Vox.

Continuing the legislative push on climate change
Global Warming

Continuing the legislative push on climate change

Key bills in 2017 would solidify global greenhouse gas reductions and protect communities from air pollution.

Audubon condemns federal moves on climate policy

Audubon President David Yarnold today was quick to condemn President Donald Trump's executive order reversing a number of federal policiy addressing climate change, most notably the Clean Power Plan:

Said Yarnold, “There are numerous paths to reach a clean energy future, but none-of-the-above isn't one of them. The administration is taking off the table our most concrete plans to deal with climate change—but without a single alternative."

Here in California, officials moved quickly to make it clear that they would fight the administration's attempts to back away from this country's progress on climate change. California has aligned with several other states to threaten court action over the administration's moves.

California says it will fight any federal effort to restrict its ability to regulate vehicle emissions

As the Environmental Protection Agency signals its intent to roll back fuel standards for new vehicles, California officials are warning that any attempt to restrict its ability to set vehicle emissions standards will be met with fierce legal opposition:

Any decision to revoke California's federal waiver could spur a major legal fight, and the state has already retained former U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. The state will "vigorously participate and defend ourselves" on setting the state's own air quality rules, California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols said.

Automakers reportedly are pressuring the EPA to begin the process of limiting California's ability to set its own standards, which are widely adopted by other states, as well.

For many California communities, fixing air pollution goes right alongside addressing climate

Fascinating piece on NPR about the demand from some Southern California communities that their air pollution problems be addressed alongside climate change policies.

De León introduces measure calling for 100% renewables by 2045

California oil refinery. Photo: Thomas Hawk

Already on a fast-track to building a reliable renewable energy infrastructure, California may soon set its sights on a future that is totally fossil fuel-free. Last week, right at the deadline for new bills, California State Senate President pro tem Kevin De León introduced legislation that will hasten the state's shift to renewable energy. Senate Bill 584 will push up California's shift to 50% renewables by 2025 (five years sooner than our current goals) and 100% by 2045.

Climate change is complicating birds' pursuit of the 'eternal spring'

Great article in the New York Times talking about how bird migrations are perfectly suited to the availability of food and habitat -- and the climate change threatens to upset this delicate system.

Audubon deeply concerned about EPA nominee Scott Pruitt

National Audubon Society President David Yarnold today expressed concern about the man who has been nominated to head the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt:

“Scott Pruitt’s nomination as the anti-EPA Administrator causes us deep concern," said David Yarnold (@david_yarnold), Audubon’s president and CEO. "The Environmental Protection Agency's work has always been based on science, but Pruitt is a climate change denier who has worked to dismantle well-grounded protections for clean air and clean water."

Read the whole statement here.

Songs for Survival
Global Warming

Songs for Survival

Zebra Finch use song to teach their young how to survive climate change... before the babies even hatch.

Climate bills working their way through California Legislature
Global Warming

Climate bills working their way through California Legislature

Lawmakers are addressing bills to extend California's cap-and-trade system, ban specific pollutants, and embrace the carbon capturing power of natural and agricultural landscapes.