SAN FRANCISCO (Amber Lee/KTVU) - Congresswoman Jackie Speier held a town hall meeting Wednesday at the San Francisco Zoo, called a "Conversation about America: Climate Change."
Speier says it was planned more than a month ago, but Hurricane Harvey adds to its importance.
She says the impact of global warming is not a partisan issue.
"I'm confident that this disaster has so shaken everyone, Republicans and Democrats alike, this is no longer a cat and mouse game. This is a crisis," Speier said.
About 150 people attended the town hall meeting.
Some say they came for hope and information.
"I want to know if Congress is really serious about doing something even though we have a president who doesn't care about climate change, It's kind of frightening," Sunny Wong of San Francisco.
"What we're seeing is more and more abrupt changes in the weather pattern that we used to be used to," says Dan Kammen, a former UC Berkeley professor of energy and climate change expert.
The physicist served as a science envoy for the U.S. State Department until he resigned last week in protest of President Donald Trump.
He says climate change has exacerbated the impact of storms.
"Climate change contributes directly to Harvey. The Gulf of Mexico is warmer than it would otherwise be. The warmer it is, the easier it is to evaporate ...puts more water into the air and then Harvey is dumping it on people," says Kammen.
Speier says research on climate change led by experts such as Kammen will help California be at the forefront of programs and policies to protect the planet.
"Climate change has made all of these events more intense ...whether it's more droughts , greater density and seriousness of hurricanes that we have, " says Speier.
Kammen says solving the problems brought on by climate change involve working with skeptics of global warming.
"The scientists in the U.S. and globally are aligned. We know what's going on but ultimately solutions are collective actions." says Kammen.
"It's real. We've got to do everything we can locally and in our state," says Speier.
The congresswoman says inaction is not an option.
She says the good news is that Californians overwhelming support efforts to slow climate change, even when they mean increased costs.