San Diego skyline

San Diego has a well-deserved reputation for its consistently “Goldilocks” weather: It’s often just right, seldom too cold or too hot. Rainstorms come in quickly but rarely linger.

The typical forecast when it’s not sunny all day? Overcast until 11 am, followed by sunshine in the afternoon.

But that doesn’t mean climate change isn’t already underway in San Diego and throughout the southwest corner of the continental United States. By mid-century, rainfall is expected to become less frequent but more intense; droughts are expected to worsen; rising seas will bring more coastal flooding; wildfires could become even more frequent and more extreme; and heat waves are projected to be longer and, at least at the coast, more humid.

Reviewing five years of effort in San Diego

Back in 2012, a group of researchers secured funding from the National Science Foundation to create Climate Education Partners, or CEP. The goal of the effort is to raise awareness among regional leaders about climate change in the San Diego area and educate them about the science behind it. The idea was that local politicians, business leaders, and others would be empowered to drive efforts to cut regional greenhouse gas emissions, and build a region more resilient to the consequences of continued climate change.

Since 2012, CEP has held seminars and tours, produced numerous reports and briefs, and surveyed the region’s attitudes on climate change – all to inform regional leaders about coming changes as the global climate continues to warm.

The NSF grant is now in its last year, with funding running out in August 2018. But CEP has found a home at an institute at the University of San Diego that focuses on providing guidance to non-profit organizations. The project’s leaders are now working with the university’s Non-Profit Institute to mesh its climate change work into the institute’s work and find new sources of funding, says Christiana DeBenedict, CEP’s assistant director.

Other similar efforts underway across U.S.

CEP is one of six NSF-funded climate change education initiatives around the country. Others included in the Climate Change Education Partnership Alliance are:

  • Climate & Urban Systems Partnership, or CUSP, encompassing Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York City, and Washington, DC.;
  • Maryland and Delaware Climate Change Education, Assessment and Research (MADE-CLEAR);
  • National Network for Ocean & Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI);
  • Pacific Islands Climate Change Education Partnership (PCEP); and
  • Polar Learning and Responding Climate Change Education Partnership (PoLAR CCEP).

Bruce Lieberman

Bruce Lieberman, a long-time journalist, has covered climate change science, policy, and politics for nearly two decades. A newspaper reporter for 20 years, Bruce worked for The San Diego Union-Tribune...