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Google Earth offers a vision of post-global warming California

SAN FRANCISCO — Want to see what climate change could mean for California?

SAN FRANCISCO — Want to see what climate change could mean for California? Just Google it.

The Internet search giant unveiled a new tool Wednesday for its popular Google Earth navigation software that predicts where sea levels could rise and where wild fire danger might worsen due to global warming.

“This is part of our effort to get people to really understand what is happening around us,” said Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who unveiled the new features at a press conference where Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger released the state’s 200-page report on how California plans to cope with climate change.

Google and Governor Schwarzenegger to bring a visual element to climate science.

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“California has taken action and led the way in the US and around the world in enacting green policies to fight climate change because no single issue threatens our planet’s health and prosperity more,” said Schwarzenegger.

Among the recommendation in the 200-page Climate Adaptation Strategy: increase water conservation, curb development, and use more renewable energy resources – many measures that are underway in the state.

Google has already released several online tools in support of efforts to address climate change ahead of this month’s United Nations Climate Change Convention in Copenhagen.

Former Vice President Al Gore introduced the Google Earth features on YouTube in September.

Michael B. Farrell reports for the Christian Science Monitor.