California Archives - State of the Planet

California’s First In The Nation Climate Plan

The goal of the energy transition is to create a renewable energy system that is as effective and reliable as the current fossil fuel-based system. Microgrids provide backup capacity and vastly increase the reliability of power systems for consumers. A second goal of the energy transition is to switch off of fossil fuels and rely on solar, wind and geothermal sources of energy.

by |August 8, 2016

California Takes the Lead on Climate Policy

While current technology could be used to achieve the new climate policy goals, it will be far easier to meet and exceed the new standards if new technologies are developed and implemented. For California, the key will be the rapid development of the electric car.

by |September 8, 2015

The Growing Groundwater Crisis

Groundwater is being depleted at alarming rates, not only in drought-stricken California, but around the world. When groundwater is depleted, it can take tens to hundreds of years to for it to reestablish its sustainable level, if at all. What can be done to avert a water crisis?

Revising the Toxic Substances Out-of-Control Act

An unregulated chemical industry is an invitation for disaster. Fortunately, there is at least one place in America where regulation of toxic chemicals is taken seriously—California (of course).

by |June 29, 2015
Mono Lake, Guleed Ali, geology

Climate Change and the Future of Mono Lake

Understanding the climate history of Mono Lake will help scientists understand the future impact of climate change. This is no esoteric question for Los Angeles, which depends in part on Mono Lake’s watershed for drinking water, green lawns, agriculture and industry.

by |December 6, 2013

Safety Be Dammed: High-Risk Dams on the Rise

In the still hours just before midnight on March 12, 1928, thousands of people slumbered in the handful of agricultural communities nestled along the Santa Clara River in Ventura County, California. Tony Harnischfeger and his family slept quietly in a small house at the foot of the St. Francis Dam, a 195-foot high concrete gravity… read more

by |September 9, 2011

Walking the Tightrope of Groundwater Management

As climate changes and supplying water becomes more challenging, one company says it has a better management strategy.

by |August 29, 2011

Cooling the Former Frontier: Using Water to Save Energy

AC units have become more efficient over the years, but energy consumption during hot summer months can increase significantly, boosting both the amount of money spent on electricity and the volume of greenhouse gasses emitted in the energy production process.

by |July 25, 2011

Toxic Waters in the Gilded State

To those who have never been, the Golden State is known for luxurious palm tree-lined avenues, sun-drenched beaches, and picturesque mountains. But not all parts of California were created equal. The state’s San Joaquin Valley hosts a scene entirely different from the images of Malibu beaches depicted in travel brochures. It is the non-glittering core… read more

by |June 16, 2011

Of Earthquakes and Nuclear Reactors

As Japan’s nuclear meltdown catastrophe continues in the wake of the March 11 magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami, Japanese power company executives and officials face an increasingly challenging situation. Tuesday morning, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) — the company operating the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant — dumped more than 11,000 gallons of radioactive seawater into… read more

by |April 6, 2011