ARCCA Principles Archive

Our Guiding Principles

Climate change is happening now, and is expected to accelerate in the years ahead. California’s economy, infrastructure, public health and natural systems will be significantly impacted by extreme storm events, flooding, wildfire, heat waves, loss of water supply, air quality degradation and sea level rise. We are facing a historic governing challenge from climate change. A $2 trillion annual economy and the needs of nearly 40 million residents ride on the outcome of the state’s preparations and response.

California is already enacting an initial set of measures intended to prevent, prepare for, and adapt to climate change. While these efforts are an encouraging and positive sign, the measures are spread across a variety of sectors and agencies, and encompass a wide range of initial strategies. Reducing our risks and increasing our resiliency to the changes ahead will require a new and unprecedented degree of collaborative action throughout California. We must begin now to encourage this level of cooperation, starting with a shared set of goals and principles that allow us to balance economic, social and environmental needs as we seek to align state, regional and local governments, and bring them together with community organizations, businesses and other key stakeholders for the benefit of all Californians.

A fully annotated version of these principles is available here.

Principles of Adaptation

Work Within the Appropriate Scale and With Meaningful Partners

  1. Focus on the Regional Level 
    Communities are already bound together at a regional scale by shared geography and mutual reliance on certain resources. Additionally, local and regional adaptation efforts are more likely to have common goals, and be more nimble in application than efforts across broader, less connected geographic areas. For these reasons communities should work together inter-regionally on adaptation. All of these efforts should be in coordination with state and federal agencies active in this area to preserve resources, avoid duplication, and align with existing jurisdictional authority (MPOs, COGs, Water Districts, IRWMPs, AQMDs, etc.).
  2. Consider Health, Safety, and Equity of all Californians 
    Adapting to climate change is fundamentally about protecting people and the communities and resources we rely upon. Actions to increase resiliency and reduce risk must prioritize the health and safety of all Californians, especially our most vulnerable, by devising solutions that simultaneously encourage economic growth, improve environmental quality, and increase opportunity for all.
  3. Empower Collaboration Across All Sectors and Levels of Leadership
    Empower action by establishing and/or expanding traditional and non-traditional alliances and networks to accelerate effective and durable problem-solving (e.g., between/among public and private resource managers, scientists, decision-makers); share knowledge openly and actively; regularly engage the public on the science as well as solutions; and build capacity for local community action. This includes developing peer-to-peer horizontal linkages and vertical linkages across levels of leadership and related geographic areas to ensure economies of scale and consistency of effort.
  4. Provide Consistency at the State Level 
    The State of California should provide access to the best-available climate science, standardized sources of climate change information, and sophisticated risk assessment tools which help local governments, regional agencies and other climate practitioners take climate action to prepare for the impacts of climate change and make their communities more resilient to its effects.

Employ Key Strategies

  1. Utilize Existing Policy Mechanisms 
    In order to minimize disruptions and maximize existing institutional capacities in the face of change and uncertainty, adaptation should be integrated throughout existing local, regional and state plans, policies and decision-making, rather than creating new stand-alone policies.
  2. Prioritize Multiple Benefits 
    Because adapting to climate change will require significant resource investments, great changes to the status quo, and engagement of people from all sectors of society, it is important to prioritize those actions that yield the greatest collective benefits. For example; adopt landscape or watershed scale analyses; focus on natural system function and services; establish a preference for green or nature-based responses to the maximum extent feasible; evaluate changes in carbon stocks and give preference to actions that also help reduce the source of climate change – GHG emissions.
  3. Employ Forward-Looking, Adaptive Management Approaches 
    In order to realize timely, effective responses to continual change in climate, ecology and economics, as well as the evolution of our understanding due to new research and data, employ an adaptive management framework with regular monitoring and reassessments with a meaningful time horizon, at least up to 2050.
  4. Invest In Resiliency 
    Public dollars, as well as private, should be prioritized to invest in developing state, regional and local policies and projects that reduce our risks and increase our resiliency. Mitigating our GHG emissions and preparing for the impacts of climate change through targeted and smart investments can give California a competitive advantage over other states that are ill-prepared to deal with climate change and its effects

Principles of Collaboration

  1. Composed of collaboratives organized to address climate in particular regions of California, ARCCA is dedicated to helping the state prepare for impacts of climate change
  2. Through collaboration each region will accomplish more than by working alone and can better help the State succeed in protecting Californians
  3. ARCCA will generally operate by democratic principles and seek to reach consensus as much as possible through dialogue and negotiation
  4. Recognizing that regions have different climate adaptation priorities, ARCAA will focus efforts where there is common ground
  5. Each collaborative will share information that it believes will be valuable to other regions, including pilot projects and case studies, best practices, funding models and partnerships
  6. We will seek to be inclusive of other regions in the state interested in participating and be a resource to those outside California where appropriate
  7. We will strive to find common objectives to develop joint funding opportunities
  8. Our common voice will increase the credibility and effectiveness of our efforts to inform state and federal policy, guidance and resource allocation