OPC Climate Change Program

Our atmosphere and oceans are experiencing drastic change: they are warming up and changing composition, faster than ever recorded. This has consequences on a global and local scale. These consequences are becoming increasingly obvious: rising sea levels, extreme weather conditions, ocean acidification, dead zones and invasive species. The impact on coastal communities is dramatic and will undoubtedly affect a vast number of people and industries.

California is one of the world leaders in both addressing climate change and protecting our coastal and ocean habitats and resources. Because of the value of California’s coastal areas and our reliance on the coast and ocean for recreation, food, and critical infrastructure, it is important to quantify how climate change will impact our ocean and coasts, and how we can best prepare for and conserve these valuable resources from changing ocean conditions. Understanding and addressing climate change is paramount to California’s work and milestones on ocean and coastal protection.

The Ocean Protection Council (OPC) was created by state law to protect ocean health, and we view all of our actions through the lens of climate change. The OPC works with its partners to implement flexible and agile approaches to respond to the evolving knowledge base and unanticipated changes when they occur. These include impacts to coastal communities by storms, erosion, and sea-level rise, and to ecosystems as a result of a changing climate.

OPC’s Climate Change program seeks to prepare for and reduce harmful impacts of climate change on ocean and coastal resources by encouraging adaptation and understanding of climate change, and engaging decision makers at all levels of government.


The Ocean Protection Council takes a leadership role in the following California climate change initiatives:

To learn more about the work OPC is doing on specific climate-related issues, click on the photos below.

Staff Contacts

Justine Kimball, Senior Climate Change Program Manager
Justine.Kimball@resources.ca.gov (650) 644-8303

Ella McDougall, Climate Change Program Manager
Ella.McDougall@resources.ca.gov (610) 698-3199