Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
May 4, 2016
A biweekly newsletter of the Climate Readiness Collaborative

We've done it again. March was the 11th consecutive month to set a new record for high temperatures since the 1800s, but just as shocking is by how much: 1.28 C. That's dangerously close to the 1.5 C threshold that climate scientists warn could be a tipping point. No wonder, then, that more and more companies are turning their attention to risk assessment and reduction, and more investors are asking for climate risk disclosures. The public sector faces a far greater struggle to fund resiliency projects, but there are hopeful signs in emerging initiatives such as resilience bonds and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. Even as 177 countries signed on to the Paris climate agreement last month, it's increasingly clear we need just as much mobilization on adaptation and risk reduction - and we no longer have 25 years.  
 
News and Research
We're closer to 1.5C than we thought - and it makes a difference
Photo: Eitan Abramovich/AFP/Getty Images
The half degree between 1.5C and 2C may sound minor but it will have a significant impact for the earth - for example, it's the difference between losing virtually all tropical coral reefs and saving 70% by the century's end. Water shortage in the Mediterranean, agricultural risks, and extreme heat events around the world would all be significantly worse at 2C than 1.5C. A new study reveals that we already uncomfortably close to the 1.5C threshold, with global averages in the first three months of 2016 1.48C warmer than pre-industrial levels, if 1881-1990 as a baseline (NASA uses 1951-1980, and IPCC 1985-2005).  ( Washington Post)
Workers face 'epidemic of heat-related injuries' due to climate change
Photo: Harish Tyagi/EPA
Workers in fields and factories face an epidemic of heat-related injuries that will devastate their health, income, and productivity, warns a major UN report. The effects of heat stress are already evident among the 4 billion people who live in the tropics and subtropics, with long-term developmental consequences when children are too hot to learn in schools. More than half of the workforce in many middle- and low-income countries is already exposed to heat hazards. Productivity losses alone could rise above $2 trillion by 2030. ( Guardian)
Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) considering climate risk requirements
The SEC is considering modernizing disclosure requirements to help investors understand how companies address climate change. In a concept document, the SEC asks for stakeholder input on disclosure requirements for climate change and related risks, as well as technological progress, social responsibility, risk factors, and more. "Are existing disclosure requirements adequate to elicit the information that would permit investors to evaluate material climate change risk?" the SEC asks. "If not, what additional disclosure requirements or guidance would be appropriate to elicit that information?" Comments are due July 21. ( SEC)
World heading for catastrophe over natural disasters, risk expert warns
Photo: A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images
Disaster risk reduction efforts are already woefully underfunded, warns the UN's head of disaster planning, and the consequences will only get worse as climate change fuels an increase in the frequency and intensity of natural disasters - and cascading disasters. Failure to plan properly by factoring in climate effects would result in a steep rise in vulnerability, but last year only 0.4% of the global aid budget was spent on disaster risk reduction - a sharp increase is needed. ( Guardian)

New bond standard will encourage climate-resilient water infrastructure

CDP, Ceres, the Climate Bonds Initiative and the World Resources Institute unveiled the Water Climate Bonds Standard to provide certification for bond markets that will help utilities and water agencies plan for and guard against climate change impacts. The standard will provide investors with verifiable, science-based criteria for evaluating water-related bonds and assessing water projects such as wastewater treatment plants and watershed restoration for climate risks and benefits. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is expected to issue the first bonds under the standard to upgrade its wastewater system. ( Link)

The 2016 fire season has already started, and more people are at risk than ever

Photo: San Bernardino County Fire Department/NYT
Wildfires have already burned an area the size of Delaware in the first 3.5 months of 2016 - more than twice the average. Some fire ecologists argue that fires should be left to take their natural course and clear out the thick, dry brush. But that approach has run into a challenge: More and more people are moving into wild lands, supported by municipalities looking to expand their tax bases and technology enabling people to live and work anywhere. It all adds up to more lives at risk and agencies spending over half their budgets to defend homes. (SFGate)

Not just climate change: Human activity also a major factor in Californian wildfires

Many models of wildfire predictions do not accurately account for human factors, but a new study found that land use, development, and ignition sources such as cigarettes and electrical poles explain as much about wildfire frequency and location as do climate influences. As a result of the near-saturation of the landscape, humans are currently responsible for igniting more than 90 percent of the wildfires in California. By accounting for both climate change and human behavioral threats, this model predicts more accurately how much land in California is at risk from wildfires - estimated at over 7 million acres in the next 25 years. ( Science Daily)

IT industry profits from disaster recovery as data moves into cloud

Credit: Thinkstock
Experts think that disaster recovery is a factor driving the decision by more and more businesses to move to cloud-based services for their data, resources, and software. The global market for data protection and recovery services is about $6 billion, which grew 7 percent in 2014. The fastest growing segment is "disaster recovery as a service." ( ComputerWorld

San Diego's bipartisan climate plan could be a model for the rest of the U.S.

America's eighth-largest city has adopted a legally binding plan to source 100% renewable energy, expand bicycling and public transit, increase tree canopy to 35%, and switch half of the city fleet to electric vehicles - and it's all supported by San Diego's Republican mayor, Kevin Faulconer. Republican support was essential to enlisting the business community, but another motivator was public concern over climate change and its visible impacts in daily life. ( Guardian)
Resources and Tools
San Francisco Flood Vulnerability: A Health-Focused Tool
The San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) and ARCCA affiliate member Four Twenty Seven created interactive maps to illustrate neighborhood-level vulnerability to flooding and the cascading health consequences that could extend far beyond actual flood events. Examples include mold exposure, medical service disruption, sewage overflows, and carbon monoxide poisoning. The maps highlight the relative risk of each neighborhood based on its geographic exposure as well as the residents' living conditions, health factors, and social vulnerability. Next steps for the SFDPH include outreach meetings for residents and a climate and health adaptation plan. ( Report, Maps)
Upcoming Opportunities
Scholarships now available for the Statewide Energy Efficiency Forum
Scholarships are available for local government staff to cover lodging and travel expenses of up to $400 for the Statewide Energy Efficiency Forum held June 15-16th in Riverside.  Please visit the "Scholarship" tab on the registration website. Don't delay - scholarships are limited! ( Link)
USDA: Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)
The RCPP has $260 million available for partner proposals to improve the nation's water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat, and protect agricultural viability. Created by the 2014 Farm Bill, RCPP leverages local leadership to establish partnerships that work with farmers, ranchers and forest landowners on landscape- and watershed-scale conservation solutions that work best for their region. Pre-proposal deadline: May 10. ( USDA)
Healthiest Cities and Counties $1.5 Million Challenge
This multi-year program will encourage mid-sized cities, counties, and federally recognized tribes to convene multi-sector partnerships in support of positive health change. Awardees will receive community seed grants and will be offered technical assistance, subject matter expertise, and online educational opportunities throughout the challenge.  ( Learn more)
FEMA: Pre-Disaster Mitigation and Flood Mitigation Assistance Grants
The Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) program provides funds for hazard mitigation planning and the implementation of mitigation projects for the purpose of reducing overall risk to the population and structures, while at the same time also reducing reliance on federal funding from actual disaster declarations. The Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) program provides funds so that measures can be taken to reduce or eliminate risk of flood damage to buildings insured under the National Flood Insurance Program. Deadline: June 15. ( Link)
ASAP Regional Adaptation Leadership Award
The American Society for Adaptation Professionals - in partnership with the California Adaptation Forum - is launching its first Regional Adaptation Leadership Award competition at the California Adaptation Forum. The Award will recognize one individual who has distinguished her- or himself in the climate change adaptation field through exceptional leadership. Nominations are due July 1, 2016. ( Link)
CivicSpark: Receive Project Support to Advance Your Resiliency Initiatives
CivicSpark is now accepting project applications for the 2016-17 service year! CivicSpark helps local governments build their climate response capacity by working directly with local staff or in the community on projects that address their larger climate action goals. Local government agencies or non-governmental organizations can contract directly with LGC for Civicspark fellows to support projects and programs. Priority deadline: July 1, 2016. ( Link)
Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Grant Program
The program offers grants to local, state, and federal governmental agencies as well as nonprofit organizations for projects to mitigate environmental impacts caused by new or modified state transportation facilities. Deadline: July 12, 2016. ( Link)
Upcoming Events
Webinar: Enhancing National Security through Conservation Partnerships
Thursday, May 5, 10.15-11.45am
This webinar focuses on implementing conservation partnership programs between the military and public and private conservation stakeholders to enhance military readiness through habitat protection. Learn from military officials and environmental facilitation experts how shared resources can improve quality of life, reduce costs, and improve sustainability. ( Register)

Webinar Series: Making the Connection - Climate Changes Health

May 9, 1.30pm EDT - Allergies and Asthma; May 26, 1.30pm EDT - Children's Health; June 7, 1.30pm EDT - Healthy Community Design and Transportation; June 29, 1.30pm EDT - Mental Health

The American Public Health Association and Climate for Health, a program by ecoAmerica, are holding a four-part webinar series, titled Making the Connection: Climate Changes Health. They will dive into four distinct categories of health, with each individual webinar sponsored and moderated by a leading health organization. ( Register)

Webcast: State of the World 2016 - Can a City be Sustainable?

Tuesday, May 10, 10am-2pm

More than half of the global population lives in cities today, and that number is expected to double by 2050. Will we invest in the physical and social infrastructure necessary for livable, equitable, and sustainable cities? Global experts examine the core principles of sustainable urbanism and profile cities. Topics range from waste handling and public transportation to civic participation and navigating dysfunctional government. ( Webinar)
Drought to Floods: City Planning in a Changing Water World
Wednesday, May 11, 8am-noon, San Pablo, CA
Please join Contra Costa County decision makers to learn about legislative and program updates, how to develop resilience to drought and extreme weather, funding opportunities, and best practices from other cities on preparing for a changing water world. ( Register)
Save the Elms Program Citizen Scientist Training
Saturday, May 21, and Tuesday May 31
The Sacramento Tree Foundation and the City of Sacramento are recruiting the first class of Save the Elms Program (STEP) Citizen Scientists in over a decade to help monitor the remaining public elms for signs of Dutch elm disease. This training will teach you everything you need to know to get started! (RSVP for May 21 or May 31)
Webinar: Wasted Food - Challenges and Opportunities in Partnerships and Consumer Behavior Change
Wednesday, May 25, 10.15-11.45am PST
Food waste may be among the greatest of the many growing challenges to food system sustainability, decreasing food availability, stressing waste management systems, and increasing GHG emissions. Speakers from Arizona State University and the City of Phoenix will discuss the problems of wasted food, the issues embedded in consumer behaviors, the potential for public-private collaboration to implement regional system solutions, and the great potential in partnerships between universities and cities. ( Register

7th Annual Statewide Energy Efficiency Forum

June 15-16, 2016, Riverside, California

Registration is now open for the 7th annual Statewide Energy Efficiency Forum, offered at no cost to California local governments. The forum will feature updates from key state agencies, highlight innovative local energy and climate change programs, offer capacity-building trainings, and provide several networking opportunities. ( Register
About the Capital Region Climate  Readiness  Collaborative

The Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative is a membership based collaborative network designed to promote greater climate change resilience planning coordination in the six-county Sacramento Region. The purpose of this collaborative network is to create a forum where leaders from government, academia, environmental and community groups, the business community, and labor can come together to exchange information, identify vulnerabilities and data gaps, leverage resources, and advance comprehensive solutions in an effort to create stronger, sustainable, and economically viable communities in the Sacramento Region.  If you are interested in learning more about the Climate Readiness Collaborative, joining the Collaborative, or being added to the list serve, visit: www.climatereadiness.info/